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January 23, 2023 Casino, Legal, Land Based, Partnerships

Vornado Realty Trust lining up NYC casino license bid

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It would build the proposed casino on the site of Hotel Pennsylvania, which is soon to be demolished.

Vornado Realty Trust is poised to bid on a casino license in NYC, at the site of the soon-to-be-demolished Hotel Pennsylvania. This site sits squarely on New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposed nine-block redevelopment around a new transit hub called Penn Station.

Vornado has already been designated to develop five of eight office sites at the Hotel Pennsylvania site, whose demolition will be completed by the end of the year.

The real estate development company has been tight-lipped about an attempt to gain one of New York State’s coveted casino licenses (only three are available downstate). However, recently they released a statement confirming the company’s interest.

The statement read: “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’s statement did not mention any potential partners for this project, but a source confirmed that its Chairman Steven Roth is in talks with Walton Street Capital Managing Principal Neil Gary Bluhm.

Vornado will have to act quickly if it wants in on the action. A first round of questions from prospective bidders is due on February 3. However, the New York State Gaming Commission has yet to set a date for the submission of applications.

There is plenty of competition for these casino licenses in NYC. SL Green teamed with Caesars Entertainment in Times Square; Related Companies and Wynn Resorts are eyeing Hudson Yards; Soloviev Group wants a site on First Avenue; Hudson’s Bay Company hopes to put a casino at Saks Fifth Avenue. The list goes on.

Each bid will cost applicants $1m and the state has not said when it will confirm the Big Apple’s winner.

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