Manhattan Board Questions New Casino Hotel Plan Amid Controversial Tower Proposal


News is brewing in the heart of New York City as the Manhattan Community Board 4 (MCB4) expresses befuddlement and skepticism over the proposed development plans put forth by Related Cos for the next phase of Hudson Yards, located on Manhattan’s vibrant West Side. Among the intriguing features of the construction plan is a proposed casino hotel, destined to fly the Wynn Resorts flag, a prospect that has drawn much attention and concern from MCB4.

The consternation arises from the inconsistency between these new plans and a prior agreement from 2009. In that year, a pact was penned between the board, city officials, and Related Cos. The agreed upon stipulation demanded the property be dominantly purposed for residential use, encompassing 5,762 housing units.

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The resurrected plan, a drastic divergence from the original consensus, features a triad of imposing towers, one of which will be residential and the remaining two zoned for commercial purposes. Moreover, the residential tower will house a reduced quantity of approximately 1,500 residential units – far less than the original agreement. The largest of the towers, a behemoth of three million square feet, is slated to bear the prestigious Wynn name, causing a ripple of discourse amongst the members of MCB4.

Added to this upheaval is the board’s vociferous objection to the pro tem decision-making process, as it challenges the purpose of detailed site plans, Points of Agreement and zoning changes. The board conveyed their dissatisfaction in a letter, summoning the city and Related to justify the impulsive divergence from previously agreed plans.

In retaliation, Related’s Chief Operating Officer Andrew Rosen presented a revised plan to MCB4 last month, seemingly in compliance with the 2009 agreement. The plan served up the inclusion of affordable housing, provision for a new school, and space for open areas. These points, previously frequent features in discussions regarding the casino proposal, were reintroduced to garner support. However, this hasn’t seemed to sway MCB4.

The vision of a casino nestled in Manhattan has often been a source of discord amongst policymakers. Many have recoiled at the notion of a gaming venue situated within the borough, irregardless of its prospective operator and its location. Furthermore, MCB4’s reticence to validate their support for Related and Wynn presents an ominous challenge to the development plans.

Success for Related and Wynn would invite the honor of one of the three downstate gaming licenses, set to be awarded by the New York regulators in 2025. Should this occur, the future casino would claim its stake at the northern most point of the Hudson Yards property.

MCB4’s grievances do not end there. They find fault with the planned positioning of a school nearby the casino, the potential underpopulation of students due to the limited residential component, as well as the relegation of open space to a mere afterthought squeezed between the proposed towers.

The future of Hudson Yards and the outcome of Related Co’s proposed casino hotel awaits its fate on a tightrope of negotiation and compromise, under the watchful gaze of Manhattan’s Community Board 4.

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Melinda Cochrane is a poet, teacher and fiction author. She is also the editor and publisher of The Inspired Heart, a collection of international writers. Melinda also runs a publishing company, Melinda Cochrane International books for aspiring writers, based out Montreal, Quebec. Her publication credits include: The art of poetic inquiry, (Backalong Books), a novella, Desperate Freedom, (Brian Wrixon Books Canada), and 2 collections of poetry; The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat, (Backalong Books), and She’s an Island Poet, Desperate Freedom was on the bestseller's list for one week, and The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat is one of hope and encouragement for all those living in the social welfare system. She’s been published in online magazines such as, (regular writer for) ‘Life as a Human’, and Shannon Grissom’s magazine.