Mohegan Gaming has partnered with the Soloviev Group for a NYC casino

Mohegan Gaming has partnered with the Soloviev Group for a NYC casino

Mohegan Gaming is joining up with Soloviev Group to throw its hat in the ring for one of three downstate New York casino licenses. While the partnership wasn’t widely known until a late January announcement, the Soloviev Group’s digital literature on the proposed project is dated November 2022.

Mohegan Gaming isn’t specifically named in the PDF brochure, only a reference to an “opportunity to partner with a casino partner who shares our vision, commitment to excellence and who is best suited to operate such a groundbreaking endeavor for the City of New York.”

However, according to an article in the New York Times, Mohegan Gaming is partnering with the long-time owner of nearly 7 acres in Midtown, New York to build and operate a casino to be built underground with a park and giant Ferris wheel on top. Amenities would include a hotel, residential and retail areas, and four acres of green space, which group founder Stefan Quinn Soloviev has dubbed Freedom Plaza.

Manhattan Waterfront Underground Casino

Soloviev purchased the 6.5-acre waterfront plot from Consolidated Edison in 2000 for $600 million.

The location is near the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. The plot of land is the largest contiguous piece of undeveloped property in Manhattan. Approvals have already purportedly been given for 2.75M sq ft of mixed use development. The company has owned the plot “shovel-ready” for over 15 years, waiting for the right opportunity to present itself.

The company mentions that the East River Entertainment District addition would extend the current East River Waterfront Renewal project, adding to the existing waterfront parks, bike lanes, pedestrian seating, and basketball courts along the two-mile-long Esplanade.

Soloviev Group CEO, Michael Hershman said that the project was “beyond a casino”.

As currently imagined, the project would feature a raised podium & public park with retail and amenities. The company explained that a layered plan would maximize the available space while cutting down on towers, and would result in more open space for the community.

Illustrations of the concept are labeled as “approved buildable plans” and show a narrow band of lowest-level underground parking topped by casino, restaurant, and retail space spanning the entire width of the property.

Open Spaces Everywhere

Atop is a domed park and recreation area with several residential towers – one version holds a commercial tower at one end – another shows a new museum for New York City at the other end – the “world’s first museum dedicated to the celebration of freedom and democracy.”

More detailed architectural art shows a massive Ferris Wheel centered on top of the park’s central “dome”.

If current architectural drawings are predictive of the final plot, open spaces would not be confined to ground level or rooftops – some of the mirrored glass towers that could have a hotel, residential, or commercial spaces inside, have sections of a level and entire floors open to the elements with greenery and grass.

The New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) announced a Request for Application for three full-scale Las Vegas-style casino licenses first written into law after a 2013 voter referendum. Mohegan is one of the last to announce plans with the only other highly anticipated announcer being Hard Rock International – but that announcement may never come. The company has played its cards close to its chest with a possible venue only a few miles away at Meadowlands in New Jersey.

CEO and President of Mohegan Gaming, Ray Pineault said: “Mohegan is known for the wide array of extraordinary experiences and exceptional service we provide our guests – but it is truly our culture, values, and commitment to our community that set us apart as an organization.

“Our rich Mohegan heritage provides the foundation for how we operate our business and guides our commitment to our employees, our approach to guest services, and our relationship with partners and the communities in which we operate and serve. We look forward to infusing our “Spirit of Aquai,” our guiding philosophy, into New York State.”

Mohegan Gaming is no stranger to large or unique projects. One of its largest endeavors to date has been INSPIRE Integrated Resort Co., Ltd. Korea. Mohegan INSPIRE is building the largest resort in Northeast Asia. It’s located at Incheon International Airport in Yeongjong-do. The project will be completed in 4 phases through 2046.

Phase One is under construction and features 3 five-star hotels (approximately 1,200 rooms), an arena with 15,000 seats (multipurpose performance hall), an indoor water park, convention facilities, a foreigner-only casino, a digital street, and an outdoor family park.

Source: Mohegan pushes for massive Ferris wheel to crown out proposed NY casino near UN headquarters, Asian Gaming Brief, February 1, 2023

Author: Henry Brown