Jamestown, RFR in landlord boost for SL Green’s Times Square casino
Proposal with Caesars and Jay-Z’s Roc Nationat 1515 Broadway drawing critical support
Some of the city’s biggest landlords are in on SL Green’s proposal for Times Square as the jackpot among a pool of bids for a downstate casino license.
The Coalition for a Better Times Square has a new host of members willing to throw support behind the casino plan at 1515 Broadway, the Commercial Observer reported. RFR Holding’s Aby Rosen, Soho Properties, Moinian Group and Wharton Properties are among the cast of commercial bosses in the coalition.
Having the group of commercial landlords behind it could be critical for the bid by SL Green and Caesars Entertainment, as community support is a factor the state will weigh in its deliberations.
Also among those putting their name on the line is Michael Phillips of Jamestown, a firm that knows about new projects in the neighborhod: last year it announced a $500 million redevelopment of One Times Square.
Phillips hailed SL Green’s casino proposal for “relying on the amenity base in the surrounding neighborhood to be the attraction.”
“Most of the people who talk about Las Vegas, talk about concerts, theater and food,” Phillips told the outlet. “They don’t talk about gambling … The gaming culture has created an entertainment engagement that has now to some extent eclipsed the gaming.”
RFR’s Rosen said in a statement that “no location in the city is more suitable for the beginning of our gaming industry than Times Square.”
The support from some of the biggest names in the city’s commercial scene come after SL Green’s pitch was knocked by a Times Square mainstay. The Broadway League last year argued against putting one of the three potential downstate casinos in Manhattan at all.
New York City’s largest office landlord has other intriguing names attached to its casino bid. Jay-Z’s Roc Nation will oversee entertainment options at the proposed casino and Mayor Eric Adams’ former chief of staff Frank Carone signed a contract with the law firm representing the bid.
SL Green’s proposal would see Marc Holliday’s company convert part of the office building at 1515 Broadway into eight floors and 250,000 square feet of entertainment and restaurant space, operating below a five-star, 800-key hotel.
Other companies plotting a casino either in or near New York City include Related Companies in Hudson Yards, Thor Equities in Coney Island, Steve Cohen’s firm near Citi Field and the Soloviev Group by the United Nations. Two of the three licenses are expected to be awarded to existing racinos, leaving an all-out blitz for the final license.
— Holden Walter-Warner