Billionaire Stefan Soloviev joins New York casino bid

Caesars proposes Times Square casino

Caesars proposes Times Square casino

Billionaire businessman Stefan Soloviev has joined the list of bidders in the New York City casino race. He is the owner of 9 West 57th Street and one of the largest landowners in the nation, boasting over half a million acres to his name.

According to reports, Soloviev has prepped the newest casino scheme with Manhattan as the target. The landowner is in talks with Las Vegas-based gaming companies for a land-developing venture south of the United Nations campus. He may win one of the three available downstate licenses issued by the state.

New York made commercial casino gambling legal in 2013. According to the law, three land-based downstate and four upstate casinos were allowed to operate. New York’s downstate is categorized as its five boroughs, Hudson Valley and Long Island.

The gaming measure created in 2013 allowed a 10-year stalemate for downstate casinos to be developed. The state gave the provision in order for the four upstate casinos, Del Lago Resort & Casino, Rivers Schenectady, Tioga Downs, and Resorts World Catskills, to have a period to operate without the competition of downstate casinos.

The moratorium on downstate casinos officially expires next year. While racinos like Resorts World New York City in Queens and Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway are two favorites among the downstate concessions, interest in the last casino license is considerable. Some of the most wealthy and powerful billionaire landlords and hedge-fund giants in New York are among the likely bidders.

READ: Best US casino sites in 2022

The Related Companies and the Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross suggested constructing a casino in partnership with Wynn Resorts at the billionaire’s Hudson Yards at Manhattan’s West Side. Steve Cohen, New York Mets owner, also expressed interest and partnered with Hard Rock International.

Cohen’s proposal is the most recent and featured a plan to build a casino in Willets Point, Queens. The location is where Mayor Eric Adams and City Football Club recently unveiled the site of a new soccer stadium. The Mets owner may want to capitalize on the growth of the area, which has redevelopment plans for a 25,000-seat stadium close to Citi Field, 2,500 units of affordable housing, and a hotel.

If the proposal pushes through, the gaming venue beside the Mets’ home field will be the second in Queens besides the Resorts World New York City Casino in the borough. John Catsimatidis and Thor Equities are reportedly considering casinos in Coney Island, Brooklyn.

Soloviev is the latest billionaire to join the bidding war for the forthcoming commercial casino industry in New York City. The billionaire is reportedly readying a blueprint for the integrated casino resort to be built on the roughly six-acre vacant land he owned along the East River, just south of the United Nations Headquarters.

“It’s really exciting to take that site and look at what it can become,” Soloviev said recently.

The billionaire suggested that a casino resort with 1,000 rooms would be constructed on the land after state and local approval. Other atypical amenities include a 4-acre park, a “democracy museum”, and a Ferris wheel that would overlook the East River.

The land was originally 9 acres and was purchased by Soloviev’s father in 2000 from Consolidated Edison for $600 million. The property was reduced to 6 acres after selling some parts and developments.

Soloviev’s giant Ferris wheel in his casino pitch is something a group failed to achieve on Staten Island. The 630-foot tall observation tower, which was called the New York Wheel, was supposed to be erected on Staten Island’s waterfront; however, the idea was scrapped.

The group of investors behind the construction announced the news in 2018 after years of ballooning costs and considerable delays. In its wake, there were around 8,000 cubic feet of foundation left, along with an 820-space parking garage and four 90-ton pedestals to hold the legs.

Soloviev inherited a large part of his wealth from his late father, Sheldon Solow who died in 2020. At the time of his death, Solow was worth around $4.4 billion. In a rumored attempt to distance himself from his late father, Soloviev decided on using the ancestral spelling of his family name. The two had suffered a difficult and contentious relationship while Solow was alive.

9 West 57th Street is one of Soloviev’s inheritances and is one of the most notable Midtown skyscrapers. Besides his inheritance, Soloviev has achieved even more financial success via his own businesses. The billionaire has invested much of his inherited wealth in railroads, real estate, and farming. His next business venture is hopefully the US gaming industry.

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