SL Green and Caesars Entertainment’s bid for a casino in New York City’s Times Square is getting a boost from one of the city’s most famous residents. Brooklyn-born rapper and billionaire Jay-Z has joined the team, which is one of several angling to score a casino license from New York state. The multi-hyphenate star’s entertainment agency, Roc Nation, will serve as the entertainment partner for the Caesar’s Palace Times Square proposal going forward, SL Green said in an announcement Monday. Jay-Z and his company’s role will entail helping to revitalize the Times Square area through new programming.
The proposal by SL Green, Manhattan’s largest landlord, and Caesars Entertainment was first announced in late October of this year. The partnership is hoping to transform SL Green’s office tower 1515 Broadway into an entertainment complex that would house gaming areas, retail, and restaurants across several floors of the building, with an 800-room, five-star hotel above it. SL Green is projecting that the Caesars Palace Times Square project will bring in an additional 7 million visitors to Times Square every year as well as major boosts in revenue to Broadway shows, hotels, restaurants, and retail. While a growing list of high-profile developers are lining up to propose billion-dollar casino projects, some local business groups and elected officials have come out against the plan.
The concept of building casinos in big cities has been growing in popularity over the last several years. Chicago approved casinos earlier this year with the first project, a $1.7 billion Bally’s outpost, already in the works. Studies on the impact casinos have on densely populated urban areas have had mixed results, with some showing a positive impact to nearby property prices and others showing a neutral or negative impact. What is clear from the research is that a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work for these kinds of projects. For cities and stakeholders, taking a thoughtful approach and working with the community will help ensure a better outcome for everyone.