Latest casino proposed for NYC includes a giant Ferris wheel near the U.N.

February 1, 2023

Rendering of Freedom Plaza. Credit: Soloviev Group.

As the competition for three New York City casino licenses heats up, the latest contender, Soloviev Group, announced this week a partnership with Mohegan in a plan that would include a partially subterranean casino anchoring a Midtown entertainment district near the United Nations headquarters. In addition to the casino, the mixed-use development known as Freedom Plaza would include a hotel, two residential towers, green space, a performance venue, a giant Ferris wheel, and–because nothing says “democracy” like a casino and a Ferris wheel–a museum dedicated to democracy.

Soloviev Group CEO Michael Hershman told the New York Times in an interview there “really is a lack of hotel rooms, retail, and restaurants,” in this part of Midtown East, although the 34th Street ferry and Grand Central Terminal are within walking distance. Hershman added: “This is beyond a casino.”

As 6sqft previously reported, in 2022 the New York State legislature approved licenses for three new casinos in the New York City area. Soloviev Group is the owner of a storied undeveloped 6.7-acre plot near the U.N. Mohegan, an extension of the Mohegan Tribe of Indians, is the owner and manager of eight casino resorts in the United States, Canada, and Northern Asia. Mohegan’s flagship property, Mohegan Sun, located in Uncasville, Connecticut, is among the world’s largest casinos.

Soloviev and Mohegan join a growing field of contenders: Caesars Entertainment and developer SL Green recently announced a bid to open a Jay-Z-backed Caesars Palace casino in Times Square at 1515 Broadway. Other casino hopefuls vying for the new gaming licenses include Thor Equities, Steve Cohen, owner of the Mets, and Related Companies, a prominent NYC developer who would work alongside Wynn Resorts to create a casino.

The owner of Saks Fifth Avenue, Hudson’s Bay Company, also announced plans to build a casino atop the Saks Fifth Avenue store at 611 Fifth Avenue.


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