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SL Green, Caesars Team Up To Pitch Casino On Broadway

SL Green has formally revealed its hand for one of the casino licenses up for grabs in New York City, teaming up with Caesars Entertainment to pitch the Times Square building that currently houses The Lion King musical as a future gaming destination.

1515 Broadway in Times Square

The Manhattan REIT and Las Vegas giant announced their plan to redevelop 1515 Broadway, which houses the Minskoff Theater and Viacom's world headquarters.

"We believe that Times Square offers the best location for a new resort casino that can attract tourists and benefit local businesses," SL Green CEO Marc Holliday said in a statement. "We're excited to pursue this license with Caesars and our many local partners. Our approach will ensure that under-represented communities benefit both in terms of employment and investment opportunities.

"A casino in Times Square is in keeping with existing uses in the area. Times Square is the center of the entertainment universe. Because we are proposing a renovation, once the license is issued, we can open quicker than other facilities, which require entirely new construction, changes in law, and will be disruptive to their local communities."

The companies are proposing “significant” security and traffic improvements as part of the project. Specifically, they plan to deploy surveillance drones, the New York Times reports. The Broadway League has already come out against the project, telling its members that a casino would not be a win for Broadway, an industry that has suffered deeply during the pandemic.

“The addition of a casino will overwhelm the already densely congested area and would jeopardize the entire neighborhood whose existence is dependent on the success of Broadway,” the league said in a statement to the Times. “Broadway is the key driver of tourism and risking its stability would be detrimental to the city.”

The Actors’ Equity Association supports the plan, however.

Last month, Related Cos. announced it is teaming up with Wynn Resorts with a plan to build a casino on the undeveloped western half of Hudson Yards.

Downstate New York, which includes New York City, is due to get three new casino licenses handed out by the state. Rumors have swirled about real estate developers that may be chasing the licenses. Thor Equities is reportedly looking at Coney Island for a potential site, as is billionaire developer John Catsimatidis.

L&L Holding Co. and Vornado have also expressed interest in submitting bids for properties near Times Square and Penn Station. Steven Cohen, owner of the New York Mets, has reportedly had conversations with casino and resort company Las Vegas Sands about putting up a gaming center near Citi Field.

“If a casino is going to come, if they're going to roll the dice in Queens County, we need for the residents to hit the jackpot too,” Queens Borough President Donvan Richards told Bisnow this week regarding the idea of a casino coming to the neighborhood of Willets Point. “The bottom line is, what does a casino look like for residents? We've seen Resorts World in Queens. We know that there have been some benefits for investment in education and other things.”