New York Mets owner Steve Cohen has revealed detailed plans for his $8 billion casino and entertainment complex, to be built on a 50-acre parking lot next to the Citi Field baseball stadium in Queens. The proposal, which marks Cohen’s entrance into the casino business, is a joint effort with Hard Rock International.
The billionaire hedge fund manager’s plan, known as Metropolitan Park, will not only feature a full-scale casino but also 20 acres of newly built public park space. The project is also expected to bring in new athletic fields, a renovated mass-transit station, and a “Queens food hall.” Cohen has stated that the complex will create 15,000 permanent and construction jobs.
However, Cohen faces several significant obstacles in bringing his vision to life. The proposed casino site is technically state-owned parkland, so the legislature would first need to pass a bill allowing the annexation of the land. Additionally, the plan would require approval from a siting board made up of local elected officials from the district and then from a state gaming-location board.
Despite the challenges, Cohen remains optimistic about the potential upside of the project. A study from Spectrum Gaming suggests that a Queens casino could generate $1.9 billion in revenue annually by 2025. With Cohen’s net worth at $13.9 billion, the potential for success makes the project worth the risk.
The state has not yet set a deadline for when prospective casino bids are due or when it will make its decision on which bidders will be granted a license. With nearly a dozen other applicants vying for one of only three coveted licenses, the competition is fierce.
Cohen has already invested heavily in lobbying efforts and community sessions to seek support from the neighborhoods surrounding Citi Field. His partnership with Hard Rock International, as well as the involvement of SHoP Architects and landscape architect firm Field Operations, demonstrates the high stakes and level of commitment involved in bringing Metropolitan Park to fruition.