Vornado to Propose NY Casino at Hotel Pennsylvania Site

  • Vornado Realty Trust is said to be joining the New York Casino race.
  • Vornado wants to build its casino at the shuttered Hotel Pennsylvania site near Madison Square Garden.
  • The state of New York will issue up to three downstate casino licenses this year.

Vornado Realty Trust is reportedly joining the New York casino race.

According to a report from the New York Post, New York City’s second-largest landlord is thinking of bidding for a casino license at the site of the soon-to-be-demolished Hotel Pennsylvania near Madison Square Garden.

The shuttered hotel is included in the nine-block redevelopment dubbed a “new” Penn Station that is being proposed by NY Gov. Kathy Hochul. Vornado will develop five of eight office sites in the area where buildings, including Hotel Pennsylvania, are to be demolished. The demolition of the said hotel will be completed by the end of 2023.

In an interview with the New York Post, an unnamed official from Vornado said:

“We are studying the possibility of applying for a casino license [in the Penn Station area], but we have no deal in place. Our most important criterion for any project is that it meets the economic development objectives and produces the transit and public improvements set forth in the state’s General Project Plan.”

Vornado Partnering With Neil Bluhm?

Although Vornado did not mention a partner for the project, the NY Post said that a source revealed that chairman Steven Roth is talking to Midwest gaming mogul and Walton Street Capital managing principal Neil Gary Bluhm, who is also the co-founder and chairman of Rush Street Gaming.

The 84-year-old Bluhm, who is valued by Forbes at a net worth of $6 billion, is either owner or partner in a handful of casinos in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Schenectady, NY. He is also a minority owner of the Chicago Bulls and Chicago White Sox. Bluhm also sits on the board of the Whitney Museum of American Art and is a member of the Board of Trustees at Northwestern University.

Vornado does not have to select a casino partner for now but it may have to act swiftly if it wants to join the arms race. A first round of questions from prospective casino bidders is due on February 3, although no deadline has been set for the submission of applications. Its rivals, however, have already gone public with their partnerships.

Vornado Has Stiff Competition

If Roth does indeed go all-in on a casino bid, he will face very still competition for only three downstate casinos licenses that the state is expected to issue later this year. Rival SL Green, the largest commercial landlord in New York City, has teamed up with Caesars Entertainment to put up Caesars Palace Times Square at the 1515 Building in Times Square. Then there is Steve Ross’s Related Companies which has partnered with Wynn Resorts to propose a casino at an undeveloped portion of Hudson Yards.

New York Mets team owner Steve Cohen is also plotting to build a casino at Willets Point, near the Mets’ stadium CitiField, as part of a massive development in the area. Cohen is currently linked to a team-up with Hard Rock. Las Vegas Sands is also bidding to build a casino at the site of Veterans Memorial Stadium in Nassau County.

Thor Equities has joined forces with Saratoga Casino, Chickasaw Nation, and Legends for a $3 billion Coney Island casino proposal. Hudson’s Bay Company is also planning a gaming property at its Saks Fifth Avenue flagship store. Then there is also billionaire Stefan Soloviev who wants a casino on a six-acre site on First Avenue, south of the United Nations.

Then there are the Existing Casinos

Aside from the above-mentioned rivals, Vornado’s casino bid will also face competition from the two existing slot parlors in the state which have announced their intention to bid for a full-casino license so they can offer the total Las Vegas-style experience.

Empire City Casino in Yonkers and Resorts World in Queens are believed to be the frontrunners to secure two of the three casino licenses available. That’s because these slot parlors are already operating and would only need to add table games to their existing offerings to become full-fledged casinos. Giving these casinos two of the three licenses would enable the state to enjoy additional tax revenues almost immediately.

The other casino proposals, including Vornado’s potential bid, will either be built from the ground up or will require the renovation and expansion of existing buildings. These projects would take several months or even years to be completed and the state will have to wait for some time before receiving tax revenue.

About the Author
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Shane Acedera
Blog and News
Shane turned a childhood love of the NBA into a successful writing career as he’s been covering basketball and other sports online since high school. Acedera branched out into sports betting over a decade ago and has been a reliable contributor to TheSportsGeek for the last five years. Shane loves to talk sports whether it’s with other enthusiasts or with his wife and three dogs.

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