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Manhattan Mogul Larry Silverstein Joins Race For New York City Casino

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on June 23, 2023
Photo Rendering of The Avenir Crown At Night with New York City casino bid

Manhattan magnate Larry Silverstein enters a race for three casino licenses in New York City.

His national real estate firm, Silverstein Properties, announced plans to develop The Avenir – a hotel, casino, entertainment and residential complex – on an empty land on Manhattan’s far West Side. The company is partnering with Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment and affiliates, the owner and operator of Parx Casino.

Silverstein Properties is led by Larry Silverstein, a real estate mogul who redeveloped the big part of the World Trade Center location after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Silverstein, chairman of Silverstein Properties, said via release:

“Our City and State face a confluence of historic challenges right now. These include a housing crisis, public safety challenges, budget shortfalls, and a commercial real estate market in transition. We need to work with State and local leaders to do everything we can to make New York the best place to live, work, and visit.

We’ve done it before, and I am confident we can do it again. I’ve always said you should never bet against New York; This City and State will come back bigger and better than ever before.”

Photo rendering of The Avenir Full Building exterior at Day (Photo Credit: Silverstein Properties)
Photo rendering of The Avenir full building exterior. Photo credit: Silverstein Properties

Partnering with Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment

To build a casino complex, Silverstein teamed up with Silverstein Properties and Watche Manoukian, a London-based businessman who owns Parx Casino. Parx is the highest-grossing casino complex in Pennsylvania and the largest operator in Philadelphia.

Eric Hausler, the Chief Executive Officer of Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, said:

“We are excited to join with Silverstein Properties to create a gaming, leisure, and entertainment destination that will reflect the unique character and spirit of New York City, and attract visitors from all over the globe. We are a company with deep roots in our communities.

We look forward to working with the Hell’s Kitchen and Hudson Yards communities’ elected, civic, and labor leaders to create something that serves the neighborhood and its residents.”

What The Avenir hotel, casino, entertainment and residential complex includes

The 1.8 million square foot project will be located on 92,000 square feet of undeveloped land at 41st Street and 11th Avenue, which Silverstein purchased in 1984.

The site is four blocks west of Times Square. The location is also north of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, which hosts over 150 major events with 2.5 million visitors annually.

According to the company’s press release, the Avenir project will comprise:

  • Two 46-story towers connected by a public sky bridge and include 1,000 luxury hotel rooms
  • An eight-story, 600,000-square-foot gaming, entertainment, and restaurant complex at its base
  • More than 100 units of “100% permanently affordable housing”
  • A 1,000-seat performance hall on its top floor

The project will also create:

  • 4,000 union construction jobs
  • More than 5,500 permanent union jobs
  • Billions of dollars in economic activity for the State and City

Moreover, the project promises to bring:

  • More than 100 affordable apartments in the area
  • 1,000 luxury hotel rooms
  • Restaurants
  • Gaming
  • Entertainment
  • Housing complex slated for undeveloped land near the Javits Center
Rendering of The Avenir 41st entrance. Photo credit: Silverstein Properties
Rendering of The Avenir 41st Street entrance. Photo credit: Silverstein Properties

Who else is in the race for a New York casino license?

There are three licenses available for a New York casino.  Two out of three casino licenses will go to:

  • Resorts World New York City at Aqueduct Racetrack (Queens)
  • The Empire City Casino (Yonkers)

But the two so-called “racino” locations only operate video lottery terminal machines (like slots). They now want a full-scale commercial casino license with table games and betting on sports.

The competition for a retail New York casino license is fierce and includes multiple companies spending millions lobbying local officials.
More than ten New York casino bids spread across the city, and these include:

  • SL Green Realty Corporation which teamed up with Caesars Entertainment and Roc Nation to renovate a Times Square skyscraper for a casino and a hotel
  • Hudson Yards developer Related Companies and Wynn Resorts are looking to build a casino on Manhattan’s West Side
  • Steven A. Cohen, the New York Mets owner, has developed a bid with Hard Rock for a casino adjacent to its team’s stadium in Queens
  • Las Vegas Sands, which is interested in developing a casino in Nassau County
  • Soloviev Group and Mohegan are looking to build housing, a park, a museum and a casino near the United Nations
  • Saks Fifth Avenue has suggested creating a luxury casino venue on three of the top floors of its flagship store

The New York Gaming Commission will have the final say on who gets these licenses.

Photo by Silverstein Properties; illustrated by PlayUSA
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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for PlayCanada.com. Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

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