New Yorkers could be singing take me out to the casino if a Queens pol has his way!
Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry introduced legislation Wednesday that would allow Mets owner Steve Cohen to redevelop the overflow parking lots around the baseball team’s Citi Field into a casino and entertainment complex.
The lots and other property around Citi Field in Willets Point are deemed parkland — designated as part of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park back in 1939.
A change in state law is required to allow for other uses.
So Aubry, who represents Corona and parts of Flushing — is swinging the zoning bat and rolling the dice for Cohen and his development firm New Green Willets LLC.
“The city of New York is authorized to discontinue the use as parkland and alienate through the entering of leases or other agreements with New Green Willets, LLC … for the purposes of developing, constructing, maintaining, operating, using, or occupying such lands with a gaming facility,” the text of the bill says.
A bill introduced by Queens Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry would allow the overflow lots at Citi Field to be turned into a casino and entertainment complex.Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images
The pro-casino development bill was first reported by The City.
The state is considering issuing up to three $500 million downstate casino licenses, which could include New York City and surrounding suburban counties.
Cohen’s development team has held numerous community sessions to solicit input on potential uses for the lots and other property around Citi Field.
Mets owner Steve Cohen’s development company has been attempting to secure a downstate casino license. Corey Sipkin for the NY POST
“The local community and Mets fans have told us emphatically that they want more from the 50 acres of asphalt around Citi Field.
Cohen and his team are committed to delivering a vision with dedicated green space, year-round entertainment and good-paying local jobs,” said Cohen spokeswoman Maria Comella.
“We are supportive of efforts to create a process that does this the right way and makes it possible to expand use of the area beyond just parking lots.”
Aubry told The Post that he wanted to give Cohen’s team a shot at winning the casino bid.
“They would not be able to compete without the legislation. They should have an opportunity to compete,” Aubry said.
“I’m also interested in the jobs and opportunities that would be provided to the local communities.”
Just as important, Aubrey said, is that a public park and path would run connecting the Willets Point No. 7 station to the Flushing Marina as part of the redevelopment.
Public access to Flushing Bay is now limited, he said.
State Sen. Jessica Ramos, who also represents the area that includes the Cohen property, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and surrounding neighborhoods, had no immediate comment.
The lots around Citi Field are currently considered parkland.RTS/Shutterstock
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, who will sit on a siting board that will have the power to approve or veto any casino proposal in the borough, said he was “encouraged to see this legislative process” begin with Aubrey’s bill but took no firm position.
Cohen, a billionaire hedge fund honcho, is putting his financial muscle behind the bid to open a casino and or entertainment complex on the grounds surrounding the Mets stadium.
His New Green Willets company paid $436,665 to seven different lobbyists last year.
Aubry told The Post that Cohen’s group wouldn’t be able to compete without his legislation.Jeffrion Aubry
He also pumped $1.5 million into a Super Pac that backed Mayor Eric Adams’ successful bid for City Hall in 2021.
His wife, Alexandra Cohen, donated $117,300 to the state’s Democratic Committee last year.
The owners of the existing slots parlors at the Aqueduct race track in Ozone Park, Queens and Yonkers race track — Genting/ Resorts World and MGM’s Empire City — are expected to submit bids to expand their offerings to include table games.
Resorts World at Aqueduct and the Willets Point/Citi Field complex are less than 10 miles apart.
State gaming officials will weigh other casino license applications in the New York City region — including Times Square, Hudson Yards, the Trump Golf Course at Ferry Point in the Bronx and Coney Island in Brooklyn — after a lengthy review that includes community advisory boards comprised of the mayor, and representatives from the council, the state Assembly and Senate.
Gaming giant Bally’s is betting on the Bronx — recently discussing a plan to build a casino on what is now the Trump Organization’s public golf course at Ferry Point.
A consortium recently unveiled renderings for a dazzling new “Coney” casino and hotel that would be erected just steps from the storied Brooklyn boardwalk and beach, located smack between the iconic Cyclone and Wonder Wheel, the renderings show.
The consortium includes Thor Equities, gaming operators Saratoga Casino Holdings and The Chickasaw Nation and Legends, the sports and entertainment firm co-owned by the Yankees.
Others planning bids to operate a casino include the Steve Ross-Related Companies/Wynn Resorts partnership for Hudson Yards, and the landlord SL Green/Caesars Entertainment team in Times Square.
Source link: https://nypost.com/2023/03/22/bettor-up-queens-pol-submits-bill-to-convert-mets-lots-into-casino/