Times Square developer eyes casino to anchor Broadway project

Friday 22nd January 2021

The company behind a $2.5 billion project in Times Square is pitching a casino to anchor the development.

L&L Holding Co. is exploring building a casino at 1568 Broadway, where the company is working on a mixed-use project that includes retail space, a stage for live events and a hotel, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The pitch is geared toward casino operators who may be interested in partnering on the project, the person said, asking not to be named because the matter is private.

With the pandemic hitting state and local budgets, there is momentum to expand gambling in New York in a bid to boost tax revenue. Gov. Andrew Cuomo supports following in the footsteps of New Jersey and other states to allow online sports wagering.

Developers are looking to go even further, eyeing Manhattan as a lucrative market for gaming as social distancing continues to batter commercial real estate. Still, the idea of a casino in the heart of New York City would likely face long odds amid stiff political opposition.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that, in addition to L&L, Vornado Realty Trust has floated the idea of a casino on its land holdings near Herald Square.

L&L hasn't formally proposed the project to state officials. The state can issue three new casino licenses beginning in 2023, but there is pressure to speed up that timetable.

L&L declined to comment. Vornado didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Times Square development, called TSX Broadway, is slated to reach 46 stories, with retail, 669 hotel rooms, and an elevated stage for entertainment. Fortress Investment Group is the leading partner on the project, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2022.

The project recently got an infusion of more $100 million in EB-5 loans, which come from foreign investors who back real estate developments in exchange for U.S. visas.

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