bookie! Queens pol bill to turn Mets lots into a casino

New Yorkers Could Sing Take Me To The Casino If Queen’s Ball Had His Way!

Assemblyman Geoffrey Aubrey introduced legislation Wednesday that would allow Mets owner Steve Cohen to redevelop excess parking lots around the baseball team’s Citi Field into a casino and entertainment complex.

The lots and other properties around Citi Field at Willets Point are parks – designated as part of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in 1939.

A change in state law is required to allow other uses.

So Aubrey, representing Corona and parts of Flushing, swings a zoning bat and rolls the dice for Cohen and his development company New Green Willets LLC.

“The City of New York is permitted to discontinue use as parks and isolation by entering into leases or other agreements with New Green Willets, LLC… for purposes of developing, constructing, maintaining, operating, using, or occupying such lands with a gaming facility.” The text of the bill says.

A bill introduced by Queens board member Geoffrion Aubrey would allow surplus lots at Citi Field to be converted into a casino and entertainment complex.
A bill introduced by Queens board member Geoffrion Aubrey would allow surplus lots at Citi Field to be converted into a casino and entertainment complex.
Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Casino development bill It was first reported by the city.

The state is considering issuing up to three casino licenses worth $500 million, which could include New York City and surrounding suburban counties.

Cohen’s development team held several community sessions to gain input on potential uses for lots and other property around Citi Field.

Steve Cohen's development company, owner of the Mets, is trying to get a casino license in downtown.
Mets owner Steve Cohen’s development company is trying to get a local casino license.
Corey Sipkin for NY Post

“The local community and Mets fans have told us emphatically that they want more of the 50 acres of asphalt around Citi Field.

Cohen and his team are committed to delivering a vision of dedicated green space, year-round recreation, and well-paying local jobs, said Maria Comilla, a spokeswoman for Cohen.

“We support efforts to create a process that does this the right way and makes it possible to expand the use of the area beyond just the parking lots.”

Aubrey told The Post that he wanted to give Cohen’s team a chance to win the casino show.

They wouldn’t be able to compete without the legislation. “They should have a chance to compete,” Aubrey said.

“I am also interested in the jobs and opportunities that will be created for the local communities.”

Just as important, Aubrey said, is that the public park and trail will connect Willets Point Station No. 7 to the Flushing Marina as part of the redevelopment.

He said public access to Flushing Bay is now limited.

State Sen. Jessica Ramos, who also represents the district that includes Cohen’s properties, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and surrounding neighborhoods, had no immediate comment.

Many around Citi Field are currently parks.
Many around Citi Field are currently parks.

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, who will sit on a site-determining board that will have the power to approve or veto any casino proposal in the borough, said he was “encouraged to see this legislative process” begin with the Aubrey bill but did not take a firm stand.

Cohen, a billionaire hedge fund owner, is putting his financial muscles behind trying to open a casino and/or entertainment complex on the land surrounding Mets Stadium.

His company, New Green Willets, paid $436,665 to seven different lobbyists last year.

Aubrey told The Post that Cohen's group would not be able to compete without his legislation.
Aubrey told The Post that Cohen’s group would not be able to compete without his legislation.
Geoffrey Aubrey

He also poured $1.5 million into a Super Pac that backed Mayor Eric Adams’ successful bid to host City Hall in 2021.

His wife, Alexandra Cohen, donated $117,300 to the state Democratic committee last year.

Owners of gaming parlors located at Aqueduct Racecourse in Ozone Park, Queens & Yonkers Racecourse – Genting/Resorts World and Empire City MGM – are expected to submit bids to expand their offering to table games.

Resorts World at Aqueduct and Willets Point / Citi Field complex are less than 10 miles away.

State gaming officials will evaluate other casino licensing applications in the New York City area — including Times Square, Hudson Yards and Trump Golf Course at Ferry Point in the Bronx and Coney Island in Brooklyn — after a lengthy review involving community advisory boards composed of the mayor and representatives. For the Assembly, the State Assembly and the Senate.

Bronx gaming giant Bally’s recently discussed a plan to build a casino on what is now the Trump Organization’s public golf course at Ferry Point.

The consortium recently revealed designs for a stunning new “cosmic” hotel and casino that will be constructed just steps from the Brooklyn Boardwalk and beach, sandwiched between the iconic Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel, the designs show.

The consortium includes Thor Equities, gaming operator Saratoga Casino Holdings, and The Chickasaw Nation and Legends, the sports and entertainment company owned by the Yankees.

Others plan to bid to operate a casino, including the Steve Ross-Related Companies/Wynn Resorts partnership of Hudson Yards, and owner team SL Green/Caesars Entertainment in Times Square.

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