Hudson’s Bay Company wants to turn the top three floors of its flagship New York store in Midtown Manhattan into a high-end casino. To get the green light for the casino, though, the owner of the Saks Fifth Avenue department store will have to obtain one of the three downstate New York licenses. And that will be hard, considering that the list of license candidates includes Genting, MGM, New York Mets’ owner Steve Cohen, and Hudson Yards developer Related Companies.
A 60s Style Casino Comparable to the Aesthetics of the Saks Store
The Monte Carlo-style casino is planned to cover 200,000 square feet and will start on the ninth floor. A new lobby with a red carpet entrance will tell gamblers that they are leaving the department store and entering the casino.
Trenesa Danuser, a spokeswoman for the company said that the casino would be in the same style as the department store. She added that it would “be comparable to the aesthetics and luxury detailing” of the Saks store and renderings illustrate exactly that – smartly dressed players seating atop the Saks Fifth Avenue building and everything looking like it has come out of an early James Bond film.
Right now, however, the top three floors are far less glamorous. On the ninth floor, discounted dresses and children’s books are sold, while the tenth floor is dedicated to SaksWorks, a coworking office space and one of the most recent ventures of the company.
Casino Can Be Completed Within 12 Months
When you compare Saks’ proposal to other casino bids, though, you notice it is more modest and doable. And that works in Saks’ favour. According to the company’s spokeswoman, the whole project can be completed “in fewer than 12 months” and would not involve any changes in the size of the building.
Compared to the massive redevelopment projects other investors have outlined, such as Steve Cohen’s proposed 50-acre casino next to Citi Field, Hudson’s Bay Company’s plans seem much more realistic.
However, it will be down to the New York State Gaming Commission to decide which three casino bids get the state’s stamp of approval. And even though the process was recently fast-tracked, a decision is still at least a year away.
That’s because bidders won’t submit their proposals until several months from now and then the state board will analyze each bid. Still, the fact that each license will cost at least US$500 million, might speed up the process, as the billion-dollar cash injection the state will get will be hard to ignore.
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