Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Wilpons thought casino idea was a home run

(Click on image to enlarge) Photo By Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates
From the NY Post:

The Mets’ owners want to roll the dice on building a Las Vegas-style casino next to Citi Field to recoup some of the $162 million for which team brass are still on the hook following the Bernie Madoff Ponzi-scheme debacle, plans obtained by The Post reveal.

While team owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz are still having trouble opening their tight pockets for high-priced free agents, that didn’t stop their development arm, Sterling Equities, from betting on a proposal that called for bringing a massive casino with gaming tables and slots, a 500-room, full-service hotel, 1.8 million square feet of retail and other amenities to the Willets Point development site in Queens.

The Southampton-based Shinnecock Indian Nation signed on to operate the casino, and the Wilpons and partners even offered the city $100 million for the 62-acre site, according to the development team’s proposal, which was first obtained by project opponents Willets Point United and NYC Park Advocates.

With live-dealer casino gambling currently illegal in New York, except on tribal lands, the Wilpons and partner Related Companies were awarded a consolation prize.

In June, the Bloomberg administration handed them 23 of the 62 acres of city-owned land they sought in the September 2011 casino proposal — most of which is now used for parking — to build a $3 billion retail and entertainment complex without a casino.

City officials pulled the casino from the Willets Point plan partly because they thought the government-approval process would take too long, sources said. However, a city spokesman declined to comment when asked if the city would push for a casino there if the state Legislature eventually backs it.

More from NYC Park Advocates and Willets Point United.

Basically, the City was and is willing to condemn Willets Point for parking lots.


Anonymous said...

Typical sleazy Bloomberg. The Post got one thing wrong, though. It says Bloomberg handed Related and Sterling "23 of the 62 acres of city-owned land they sought in the September 2011 casino proposal — most of which is now used for parking — to build a $3 billion retail and entertainment complex without a casino." But according to another story in City Limits, the developers wanted all 62 acres of Willets Point for parking lots and the casino complex would have gone on 66 acres leased by the Mets. The Mets' land is what's now mostly used for parking, not Willets Point, which is privately owned land already occupied by functioning businesses. The Mets' land is also part of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. The City Limits story says the Mets and Related would have paved over Willets Point for surface parking. So much for cleaning up that polluted land! Citi Field is where the so-call mall will now go, so what makes the Wilpons and Related think they're entitled to 128 acres of free land (including 66 acres of the park)? This project is twice as big as the Post says. And these guys still won't say they're no longer planning to build a casino there. It must be nice to be a rich man in Bloomberg's New York! You don't just think you're entitled -- you are!!!

Anonymous said...

Racino is already at Aqueduct. Any casino should be there. What does Bloomy have up his sleeve with a developer for Aqueduct if he puts casino at Willets and Genting cuts and runs?

Anonymous said...

Caesars Club in Citifield was designed to be a Casino.

Anonymous said...

So to be clear:

The City put out an RFP for development of Willets Point, "Phase One" property. The approved project promised housing (including affordable housing) and remediation of Willets Point property, among other alleged "benefits".

4 developer entities responded to that RFP. Three of them adhered to the RFP specifications.

But Sterling/Related submitted an RFP response, that would build NO housing (affordable or otherwise), and that deliberately minimized any remediation of Willets Point property to the greatest possible extent. But not only did Sterling/Related disregard those two key "benefits" of the project; they proposed instead to construct a 450,000 square foot gaming floor/casino on 30+ acres of parkland property that is beyond the bounds of Willets Point.

Some months later, Mayor Bloomberg announced that Sterling/Related are designated as developers of Willets Point / Willets West, with the other developers eliminated from contention. We're told now that Sterling/Related aren't building a casino. And yet, the current project documents refer to Willets West as an "entertainment" center -- leaving open the possibility that after the project is approved, a casino will still be implemented. Nothing in the current project documents precludes a casino from being the developers' actual objective, even now.

We're also told that Sterling/Related has had a change of heart and will build housing -- although in the year 2028. People need to wake up and recognize this as the swindle that it appears to be.

Joe said...

These people are crazy. You cant put a Casino right next to million's low class welfare brats that cant control themselves.
They will blow there $$ then rob everybody in Queens when they need food, dope or alcohol.

Anybody been to Detroit where asshole pols thought casinos were a good idea ?
Northern Blvd will be WORSE then Detroit's 8 mile road. Talk about Pawn shops, drugs and prostitution you will need the army to keep order.

Anonymous said...

What I cannot stand is how stupid they think we are. And how hopeless Queens is to not have any electeds call this a disaster from the start.

Who thinks that $3 billion can be sunk into an "entertainment complex" and turn a profit in Willets Point without a casino?

Gambling attracts poor people. It is a tax on their stupidity.

Anonymous said...

Agreed Joe. Look what's become of Rockaway Blvd near Aqueduct. It's Sleaze City. The old 42 Street has relocated to Queens.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone in their right mind believe a Citifield Casino would pay out? The Wilpons need money so for sure gamblers won't be breaking the bank .

Anonymous said...

Met's owners are govt entitlement types - not enough profit from Madoff now looking to get free ride on a casino scheme - sure MLB and casinos what a mix - get Pete Rose to run the operation!

Anonymous said...

Agreed Joe. Look what's become of Rockaway Blvd near Aqueduct. It's Sleaze City. The old 42 Street has relocated to Queens.
And THAT, dear reader, was Bloomberg's plan all along.

Anonymous said...

Let them build it; all they do is cannabalize one another. Aqueduct has eaten into the Atlantic City and Connecticut casinos. This will eat into Aqueduct. At some point common sense (and math) will triumph and we'll have no more of these in the metro region.

Anonymous said...

Use the, currently in limbo, RKO Flushing Keith's Theater for the casino's location instead.

Build a posh hotel above it, and incorporate it's landmark lobby and grand foyer features into the building design.

It's better than it sitting there to rot for another 5 years
while Thompson and Nussbaum twiddle their thumbs looking for some dumb Taiwanese investment partner.