Times Square casino faces long odds as Broadway powerhouse rips up plan

The Shubert Organization strongly reaffirmed the opposition of Broadway theater owners to SL Green and Caesars Entertainment’s controversial proposal to bring a casino to Times Square.

Although the Broadway League, which represents theater owners and producers, criticized the proposal announced last month as « harmful » to the city and Times Square, a number of influential voices have come forward to endorse it. Among them: Actors Equity, former police commissioner Bill Bratton (who devised a safety plan for the area with SL Green) and local restaurant owners including Carmine’s, Virgil’s and Junior’s Cheesecake.

Some Times Square observers cited their support as showing cracks in the anti-casino ranks. But the Broadway League remains the most influential single force in the district, and Shubert is the largest theater owner.

During a podcast last week hosted by CBRE’s senior economic adviser, Spencer Levy, Shubert’s vice president of real estate, Julio Peterson, reiterated the League’s view that the proposed casino inside the 1515 SL Green office tower on Broadway would be « disruptive to moviegoers, and we don’t ». think it’s the best thing for our district.

Peterson said he has no objection to having a large casino in the city, only putting it in Times Square.

“I think we have to protect it and not get lost in some sort of instant gratification. . . and not think about long-term solutions and the sustainability of Broadway,” he said.

A Broadway Group representative said plans to create a casino inside SL Green’s 1515 office tower on Broadway would be « disruptive to theatergoers ».
Anne Wermiel/New York Post

SL Green CEO Marc Holliday, in announcing the partnership offer with Caesars, touted it as a « rallying point for Times Square to have a catalyst for something very positive » to reverse a recent « degradation » in the region, as well as pumping out billions in additional tax revenue for the city and state.

His company is said to believe that the « crossroads of the world » is facing not only rising crime, but also less-noticed trends such as reduced office occupancy and the gradual replacement of national retailers with establishments. fast food.

However, SL Green is keeping the lid on the details of its proposal until the end of the year – such as how the casino would be laid out inside and how many floors it would have, at 1515 Broadway, a 54-story tower that houses the headquarters of Paramount Global and the Minskoff Theater where “The Lion King” plays.

No one at publicly traded SL Green would comment.

SL Green CEO Marc Holliday said the proposed casino could be a « rallying point for Times Square ».
Bloomberg via Getty Images

But a source said the company is considering a “boutique, high-end gaming facility” that would include a five-star hotel, retail outlets, food stations, special signage and “experiential technology” to be broadcast on Times Square.

Where to approve a casino in the five boroughs is up to the state, which is expected to issue a formal request for proposals by the end of the year and choose one of them in 2023. Among other hopes, Related Companies announced earlier a partnership with Wynn Resorts will build a casino at Hudson Yards.

Proposals will be submitted to a six-person panel comprised of city and state officials. The blessing of at least four panel members is required for any of the plans to move on to the state’s siting panel, which will select a location.

The proposed casino would be housed in a 54-story tower at 1515 Broadway.
The proposed casino would be housed in a 54-story tower at 1515 Broadway.
Getty Images

But even after that, the city will have a say in the plans for the chosen location – likely including environmental, traffic and land use reviews.

On Nov. 15, Planning Commission Chairman Dan Garodnick is due to discuss the future of Times Square — and the city’s role in it — at a Broadway Association forum, which I will be moderating. Tuesday at Bond 45.


Back to top button