Stefan Soloviev isn’t going it alone in the hunt for a casino in Manhattan.
Mohegan is joining the Soloviev Group’s bid for a casino license in Midtown East, the New York Times reported. The casino and resort operator is joining other household names in entertainment like Wynn Resorts and Caesars, which have teamed up with some of the biggest names in New York City development angling for one of three licenses.
Soloviev’s plans for a hotel and entertainment complex were reported in November, but discussions between the partners only started a few weeks ago, according to Mohegan CEO Ray Poneault. The gaming honcho told the outlet the company had been approached by other prospective casino bidders.
Soloviev’s bid is slated for a six-acre site south of the United Nations on Manhattan’s East Side. The parcels, largely between 38th and 41st streets east of First Avenue, were formerly the site of a Con Edison plant.
Soloviev’s pitch includes a 1,200-room hotel, two residential buildings, a museum centered on democracy and four acres of green space that would include a massive Ferris wheel. To make the green space possible, the casino would be mostly underground.
The residential buildings could feature between 1,400 and 1,500 rentals and condos, some of which would be priced below market rent.
Sheldon Solow, Soloviev’s father, acquired the property in 2000 along with his partners for $600 million. They planned a $4 billion project with more than 4,000 apartments and a 700-foot office tower, but were thwarted by the financial crisis.
The casino competition promises to be one of the city’s critical real estate stories of the year. Lawmakers approved the distribution of three downstate licenses, but two properties are regarded as having a head start: Resorts World/Genting at Aqueduct in Queens and the Empire City/MGM at Yonkers, which already operate as slot parlors.
Soloviev’s other competition for the casino licenses reads like a who’s who of top developers, with plans for parcels from Hudson Yards to Coney Island from Related Companies, Thor Equities, SL Green, Vornado Realty Trust and New York Mets owners Steve Cohen.
— Holden Walter-Warner