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Struggling Javits Center could get an assist from proposed Hudson Yards casino

Al Urbanski
If it snares one of three casino licenses for Hudson Yards, Related Companies promises to save New York's convention business.

Conventioneers who’ve had to trek to the ICSC New York show at the Javits Center via cabs or the 7 train from their midtown hotels may soon be able to walk to the show floor—and place a few bets on the way.

Jeff Blau, CEO of Related Companies, which built the massive Hudson Yards project across 11th Avenue from Javits, told the New York Post that plans for a $10 billion development of its western half include a 3 million-sq.-ft. Wynn resort and casino.

It will hold 1,700 hundred rooms, making show-goers walkers instead of commuters. Table games like blackjack, craps, and roulette will take up 250,000 sq. ft. of space at the Wynn along with luxury retail and high-end restaurants, according to Blau.

First, however, Related must win one of three casino licenses to be sanctioned downstate by New York later this year.

Hoping to seal approval from the review board awarding the licenses, Related founder Stephen M. Ross recently announced that a 5.5-acre public green intended for Hudson Yards’ western half will remain in the plans, as well as a promised public school and a 1 million-sq.-ft. apartment tower containing more than 300 affordable units.

“For these reasons we feel we’re in a good position with the best proposal,” Blau said. “We’re looking to win. It will be one of the most incredible tall buildings in New York City.”

The competition for the licenses, however, remains fierce.

Existing “racinos” at Aqueduct Race Track in Queens and Yonkers’ Raceway in Westchester are expected to be top contenders for two of the three licenses. And the Las Vegas Sands Corporation’s bid to build a casino on the grounds of the former Nassau Coliseum received local approval last week.

New York Mets owner Steve Cohen’s plan to erect a Hard Rock casino and entertainment complex on state land adjacent to Citi Field, meanwhile, is being blocked by Queens politicians.

State Senator Brad Holyman-Sigal, whose district includes Hudson Yards and who opposes the Hudson Yards casino, is part of the six-member site review board that will vote on the license proposals. Also on the board, however, is Governor Kathy Hochul, to whose campaign Ross was a major contributor.

Related chief Blau is of the opinion that the hotel-and-casino’s promise as a lifeline for the struggling Javits Center will win the board’s favor. Wynn’s Las Vegas resort is just blocks from the Las Vegas Convention Center and its staff is experienced at booking convention rooms and attracting new events.

“The Javits Center just expanded but continues to lose business to other cities because it doesn’t have a hotel,” Blau told the Post.

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