The Daily Dirt: Casino or bust? 

Competitors not keen to lay out a Plan B

Developers Don’t Have Plan B for Casino Sites
From left: Lisa Silverstein and Marc Holliday with renderings of Metropolitan Park, Silverstein’s 520 West 41st Street, SL Green’s Times Square casino (SL Green, Silverstein, Getty)

Mets owner Steve Cohen does not have a plan B.

Cohen’s Point 72 Asset Management aims to turn the parking lot next to Citi Field into a casino, music venue, restaurants, hotel and park. If the company does not receive one of three casino licenses up for grabs downstate, the vision for the 50 acres of asphalt is … 50 acres of asphalt.

“The reality is, without gaming as an economic engine and year-round attraction to support bars, restaurants and live entertainment, the site will remain a parking lot for the next 81 years,” Point 72’s Michael Sullivan said in a statement, referring to the remaining time on the company’s lease for the site.

Cohen is not alone. SL Green Realty says it does not have an alternative plan for 1515 Broadway, its 2-million-square-foot office tower constructed in 1972. Paramount Group occupies most of the building and has a lease through 2031. It is not clear how SL Green’s casino would affect the tenants.

It’s not a surprise that the companies vying for a gaming license are not keen to share alternatives for their sites. Doing so would give the state a rationale to deny a license, and be tantamount to admitting that they may not have a winning hand.

The state recently extended the timeline for the proposals, indicating that casino applications are not due until 2025, to give bidders time to secure various city and state approvals outside the casino competition.

In SL Green’s case, the Times Square office tower could remain just that or potentially be converted to housing.

Even if Point72 had another idea for the parking lot, the company would still need permission from state legislators to develop the property. Though the site is very much a parking lot, it is city-owned and technically parkland. To change that, the legislature will have to approve a so-called parkland alienation bill.

Assembly member Jeff Aubry, who represents the area, introduced such a bill last year, but his counterpart, Sen. Jessica Ramos, has not taken a formal position, and the chances of her supporting the project appear slim.

The Mets owner reportedly has a plan B if Ramos does not play ball, however. He will campaign to get support from the legislature to pass it without her, Politico New York reports.

Other proposals are located at sites that will almost certainly be built out even if they can’t get a casino.

Related Companies, which has teamed up with Wynn Resorts, unveiled plans in February for a $12 billion development on the western part of its Hudson Yards development. The proposal includes a casino, more than 1,500 apartments, a hotel and 2 million square feet of office space.

Prior to announcing its vision for a casino, Related’s plans for the western yards included 4 million square feet of residential and 2 million square feet of office. Whether or not it wins a casino license, the developer must still build affordable housing on the site as part of an agreement with the city.

In documents filed with the Department of City Planning, Related indicates an alternative plan for the site would include 2,877 units, of which 324 would be affordable.

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A spokesperson for Silverstein Properties indicated that it does not have a specific contingency plan for its site at 41st Street and 11th Avenue, but the developer has previously floated a condo and commercial uses for the site. Thor Equities would presumably do something with its site in Coney Island, or sell it (as it has done with other properties in the area).

In an interview with The Real Deal in March, Stefan Soloviev referred to previous comments made by executives of his company that they can build market-rate housing on the site, as-of-right.

“It’s going to be a casino, though,” he added.  

What we’re thinking about: Will the broker commission rule changes lead to a spike in activity over the next two months? In other words, will prospective buyers scramble to find something before those rules kick in? Send a note to

A thing we’ve learned: Staten Island is the only borough without its own public hospital. That is one of many considerations outlined in the Independent Budget Office’s report on Staten Island’s hypothetical succession from New York City.

Elsewhere in New York…

— Trade groups say the state’s timeline for phasing out hydrofluorocarbons — chemical compounds used in refrigerators and air conditioners — is not realistic, the Times Union reports. The state Department of Environmental Conservation has proposed phasing out the chemicals by 2034, ahead of a federal deadline of 2036. The trade groups argue that grocery store owners and businesses will need to spend millions for new HVAC and refrigeration equipment. The DEC counters that the draft regulations will save businesses $288 million to $540 million on energy while helping fight climate change.

— A Brooklyn man on Thursday admitted to selling an undercover police officer a taxidermied cougar head, a cheetah skin and other illegal animal parts, Brooklyn Paper reports. Usher Weiss pleaded guilty to violating the state’s environmental conservation laws.

Closing Time 

Residential: The priciest residential sale recorded Thursday was of 4 East 62nd Street for $7 million. The Lenox Hill condominium is 4,500 square feet. Douglas Elliman’s David Juracich, Tom Titone and Holly Parker had the listing.

Commercial: The largest commercial sale of the day was for an apartment building at 104 Bayard Street in Chinatown. The mixed-use building is nearly 10,000 square feet and sold for $3.5 million.

New to the Market: The highest price for a residential property hitting the market was $25 million for a West Village compound at 66 Bedford Street. The building has two adjoining townhouses totaling 5,500 square feet. Sotheby’s International Realty’s Nikki Field and Mara Flash Blum have the listing. — Joseph Jungermann