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Times Square Landlords Throw Weight Behind SL Green And Caesars’ Casino Bid


SL GreenCaesars Entertainment and Jay-Z, in their bid to develop a casino resort in Times Square, are getting a little help from their neighbors.

SL Green, a REIT that is the largest owner of Manhattan office buildings, with Caesars and Jay-Z’s entertainment company, Roc Nation, put in a bid for one of three casino licenses that the state government is expected to award next year in downstate New York. 

This week, 10 other owners of prime real estate in Times Square are lending public support to SL Green's bid, arguing that the proposed development would enhance the area’s standing as a tourist and entertainment destination.

In a joint statement Thursday, developers Jamestown and Sherwood Equities, owners of One and Two Times Square, respectively, alongside Soho Properties, Moinian Group, Wharton Properties, RFR, Ian Schrager Co., Stillman Development and the owners of the Paramount Building, all voiced their support for the SL Green-Caesars plan to redevelop 1515 Broadway into a casino-anchored entertainment complex.

“No location in the City is more suitable for the beginning of our gaming industry than Times Square, being the no. 1 tourist destination and hub for entertainment, hospitality, retail and transportation,” RFR co-founder and principal Aby Rosen, who is co-owner of the Chrysler Building, said in a statement. “We join the Coalition for a Better Times Square and strongly support their efforts to bring a gaming facility to this neighborhood and are confident the public and private benefits created will ensure a better future for all in this great City of ours.”

The ownership of Five Times Square was also named in the joint statement. That building is owned by a joint venture of SL Green and RXR Realty, which was previously involved with Las Vegas Sands' proposal to build a casino at the site of the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island.

“RXR is a part owner of 5 Times Square but we are not a member of the coalition,” RXR senior advisor David Garten told Bisnow in a statement.

The SL Green plan would place a New York City casino at 1515 Broadway, which today houses Viacom's world headquarters as well as the Minskoff Theater.

The casino would take up eight floors in the 54-story property, with 250K SF of gambling space, 950 hotel rooms and designated space for entertainment and restaurants. A Times Square gambling destination would spur a $967M boost to annual spending in the area, SL Green executives told Bisnow earlier this year.

The plan would also include security and traffic improvements involving drone surveillance, run in partnership with former New York City Police Department Commissioner Bill Bratton and Times Square organizations.

Fierce competition for the three casino licenses has slimmed over the course of the year. Last month, a judge rejected Las Vegas Sands' Nassau plans, the New York Post reported. In October, Vornado also dropped out of the race after CEO Steven Roth had indicated interest in pursuing the license.

But SL Green’s bid still puts it up against some of the biggest names in NYC. Related Cos., Silverstein Properties, Thor Equities, the Soloviev Group, Hudson’s Bay Co., Saks Fifth Avenue and Mets owner Steve Cohen are among the developers that have submitted plans to the state for a license.

SL Green also faces local opposition from theater trade group The Broadway League, which said last year that the plans would destabilize the Manhattan corridor famous for its performing arts.