A Ferris Wheel and a Casino Near the UN

A Ferris Wheel and a Casino Near the UN

As the race for the three New York City casino licenses heats up, new and more exotic casino bids start to arrive. The latest proposal involves a casino and a Ferris wheel located near the UN building in downtown Manhattan.

The bidder is the Soloviev Group, led by real estate mogul Stefan Soloviev, which has joined forces with the Mohegan Tribe. According to the New York Times, the casino would be located mostly underground and will be part of a grandiose project that will also include two residential buildingsa concert venue, and a 1,200-room hotel.

Democracy Museum with Slabs of the Berlin Wall

The project is currently called Freedom Plaza. What makes it different from the other proposals is the Ferris wheel, located just south of the UN building and surrounded by four acres of green space. The proposal also includes a democracy museum where “giant slabs of the Berlin wall” will be put on display and a performing arts centre.

CEO of the Solviev Group, Michael Hershman, said that even though the casino would be the main attraction, the complex also provided a solution to the “lack of hotel rooms, retail and restaurants” in the area.

Stefan Soloviev said in a statement that the group would “honour, complement and advance” Mohegan’s principles of creating a carbon-neutral property. The real estate billionaire added that the strategic partnership would provide “long-term economic prosperity” and “a lasting impact on New York City,” as well as attract tourists from the region and abroad.

Fierce Competition for Gaming Licenses

The Soloviev Group may have lodged one of the most ambitious bids, but it is not alone. Genting and MGM are considered favorites for two of the licenses as they already operate casinos in New York City. If they obtain gaming concessions they would be able to upgrade their offering to table games and not just slot machines.

So, chances are that the Soloviev Group will have to compete with several other bidders for that third license. To say that it will be tough would be an understatement, as Soviev’s rivals include: 

  • Hudson’s Bay Company (casino atop the Saks Fifth Avenue department store)
  • Caesars and SL Green (Times Square casino)
  • Thor Equities, Saratoga, Legends, and Chickasaw Nation (Coney Island casino)
  • Las Vegas Sands (Nassau Coliseum casino)
  • Wynn and Related Companies (Hudson Yards casino) 

With the bidding war for the largest untapped market in the US in full swing, it is now up to the Gaming Facility Location Board to make a decision. However, that won’t happen earlier than late 2023. Moreover, community feedback and land-use issues may prolong the process even further. 

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