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Mets Owner Steve Cohen Reveals Plan For $8B Casino-Anchored Project By Citi Field

Citi Field in Queens, the home ballpark of the New York Mets.

Months after announcing his intention to enter the sweepstakes for a casino license, billionaire New York Mets owner Steve Cohen has finally revealed his plans to put a hub of gambling next to his team's ballpark.

The proposal represents Cohen officially throwing his hat into the ring for one of three downstate licenses that New York plans to issue for casinos, which has kicked off a major competition among the city's biggest developers.

Cohen dubbed the proposed $8B development Metropolitan Park in a nod to the corporate name of the baseball team, the New York Metropolitans, that calls the nearby Citi Field its home, the New York Post first reported. The project would be built on the 50 acres of asphalt parking lots surrounding the stadium.

“It’s time the world’s greatest city got the sports and entertainment park it deserves,” Cohen told the Post. “When I bought this team, fans and the community kept saying we needed to do better. Metropolitan Park delivers on the promise of a shared space that people will not only want to come to and enjoy but can be truly proud of.”

Metropolitan Park, if its bid is successful, would feature multiple hotel towers, a music venue and 20 acres of green space in addition to a casino, according to its website. Hard Rock International would partner with Cohen to operate the facility.

There would be bars and restaurants, a food hall featuring local Queens businesses and a sports book built around the casino, as well as a "tailgate park," athletic fields and multiple new structured parking garages.

SHoP Architects, which designed Barclays Center, and Field Operations, the designer of the High Line, have been enlisted in the project.

Cohen’s proposal follows news last week that Vornado has dropped out of the race. However, competition remains from other big players in New York’s commercial real estate sector, including Silverstein, Related, SL Green, Thor Equities, RXR Realty, the Soloviev Group and Saks Fifth Avenue.

While Cohen’s casino would sit close to Citi Field, the area where Metropolitan Park is proposed is technically designated as parkland, meaning Cohen would need approval from Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office and the state legislature for commercial development.

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards voiced support for the Metropolitan Park proposal, as did the Queens Chamber of Commerce. But state Sen. Jessica Ramos, whose district includes Willets Point, had more cautious words, according to the Post.

“I will be hosting another town hall on this proposal at the end of the month,” she said. “It’s important that my neighbors look carefully at the details and we’ll continue together with our process.”