REAL ESTATE

$12B Hudson Yards casino proposal details three skyscrapers, 1,500 apartments, a hotel, and offices


Photo courtesy of Related-Oxford

What could a casino look like in Hudson Yards? Related Companies this week filed plans with the city detailing a massive $12 billion development on the undeveloped western portion of Hudson Yards. As first spotted by Crain’s, the proposal calls for the construction of three skyscrapers, including an 80-story residential building with 1,500 apartments, an office tower with roughly 2.2 million square feet of office space, and a gaming facility and hotel resort with 1,750 rooms run by Wynn Resorts. Related is one of the latest developers to unveil plans as part of a bid for one of the three downstate casino licenses to be awarded in the coming months.

Image courtesy of the NYC Department of City Planning

The project, proposed for the area bounded by West 30th and West 33rd Streets and 11th and 12th Avenues, would require the construction of a platform over two-thirds of the 13-acre site, enclosing the railyard. The site sits next to the first part of Hudson Yards, which opened in 2019.

As detailed in the proposal, site A at the southwestern section of the property would include a roughly 1,172-foot-tall residential tower with ground-floor retail. The developer proposes 1,507 units, with about 324 rental units set aside as affordable housing.

Site B is at West 30th Street and Eleventh Avenue and would be developed as a 74-story office tower on a 200-foot-tall podium. There would be nearly 2.2 million gross square feet of office space with space designated for a local cultural institution, retail, a daycare center, a public school, and 225 parking spaces.

The casino complex takes up site C along West 33rd Street. The building would contain a five-story gaming facility within the podium and an 80-story hotel with 1,750 rooms, including 250 “extended stay units.” There would also be a ballroom, conference space, retail, and food and beverage facilities.

The plan also includes roughly six acres of public space between the towers.

Image courtesy of the NYC Department of City Planning

In addition to getting approved by the state, Related’s proposal must also go through the city’s review process as it looks to change the terms of the 2009 rezoning agreement for Hudson Yards. The original plan called for six buildings, which have been reduced to three taller and denser towers. The public school and affordable housing components, promised by Related in the 2009 rezoning, will stay the same.

Related is unlikely to move forward with the amended project if they are unable to obtain the casino license, Related spokesman Jon Weinstein told Crain’s. The developers estimate it will take five years to complete construction.

The application process for the licenses is expected to kick off later this year. Over the next few weeks, the state’s Gaming Facility Location Board will release answers to a second round of questions that applicants have asked about the process. Following that, completed applications will be due within 30 days.

The state’s six-member Community Advisory Councils, made up of lawmakers who represent each proposal’s neighborhood, as well as the mayor and governor or their representatives, will then meet to review each proposal. Any proposal that receives less than four votes will be discarded.

Bids that are approved by the committees will then be reviewed by the three-member Gaming Facility Location Board, which will reward up to three licenses after considering proposals based on their potential for economic impact, as well as other criteria.

Last November, the CPC proposed an update to New York City’s zoning rules to make it easier for developers to build casinos across the five boroughs. The CPC started a seven-month public review process for a zoning text amendment that would allow for the construction of casinos as of right in specified commercial and manufacturing districts without going through the city’s uniform land use review procedure (ULURP).

Several prominent developers have released proposals for casinos since the state legislature approved licenses for three new casinos in the NYC area in April 2022, including one by Silverstein Properties for next to Hudson Yards dubbed “The Avenir.”

SL Greene Realty in December 2022 revealed plans for a Jay-Z-backed Caesars Palace casino in Times Square. The proposal would redevelop the 54-story office tower at 1515 Broadway into “Caesars Palace Times Square,” which would include a hotel, wellness center, theater space for “The Lion King,” and an array of entertainment, food, and drink options.

One of the most ambitious plans includes New York Mets owner Steve Cohen’s $8 billion proposal for “Metropolitan Park,” a sports and entertainment complex across from Citi Field that includes a Hard Rock casino. Cohen’s plan would require the state to “alienate” the site to allow for construction since it’s technically parkland as part of the 1939 creation of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

Last week, renowned architectural firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) released new renderings of Freedom Plaza, Soloviev Group’s proposed mixed-use development near the United Nations that includes apartments, a hotel, a museum, a 4.77-acre public park, and an underground casino.

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