Soloviev Group promises affordable housing as part of NYC casino bid

October 20, 2023
By

Over 510 below market-rate rental apartments would be built if Soloviev and Mohegan win one of three available licenses.

As part of its proposal for one of three available New York City casino licenses, hopeful developer Soloviev Group and its partner Mohegan, have promised over 510 affordable apartments in Midtown. These residences would be part of two residential towers with a total of 1,325 apartments and would be the largest number of affordable apartments built in Manhattan in around 10 years.

Michael Hershman, Soloviev Group CEO, said, “We’re not required to do it,” as the city approved plans for mixed-use buildings that did not require the inclusion of affordable housing. However, Hersman called the idea “economically viable” as it may influence locals to vote for the construction of a casino — without which, the affordable housing would not be built.

Casino license hopefuls throughout the city have recently made other promises and offerings throughout their communities, including Wynn Resorts’ promise of affordable housing in Hudson Yards, Bally’s East Bronx bus service and Caesars’ eight-hour free buffet in Times Square. Mohegan also created the Momentum Partnership to support local businesses.

The Soloviev and Mohegan partnership has promised 4.7 acres of green space, in addition to the proposed apartment buildings and casino, as well as a 1,200-room hotel and a museum as part of its Freedom Plaza. According to Hershman, if granted a gaming license, construction could start as early as 2025.

Manhattan’s Community Board 6 voted to reject casino plans in 2022, but the Chair of the board’s Budget and Governmental Affairs committees, Reshma Patel, says this could change minds — other than her own. Patel commented, “I can’t speak for everybody, but there will be people now who will reconsider. Why can’t we do all these things without a casino?”

The approval of casino licenses will not take place for several more months, but as part of its planning permissions, Soloviev Group has already designed a light installation which will open on the site in December.

Bjarke Ingels Group has designed the overall Freedom Plaza, which could look dramatically different if Soloviev Group and Mohegan do not receive a gaming license. Bjarke Ingels himself commented, “Without a doubt, we’d have to reimagine the project as a whole.”  

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