Last week, it was revealed that the New York City Football Club (NYCFC) will have its own stadium behind Citi Field in Queens.
The $780 million project has the support of NYC mayor Eric Adams and will also include 2,500 affordable housing units and a hotel, a huge revamp from what the area consists of now: auto body and muffler shops.
The project also has reportedly given Mets owner Steve Cohen hope that he will secure a casino license.
Cohen has wanted to acquire a casino license since he bought the Mets. The New York government is making available three downstate licenses.
“They view the stadium plan as big selling point for the casino,” a City Hall operative told the New York Post. “Anything that shows the state that more people will be coming to the Willets Point area will only help the casino plan.”
Cohen wants to build the casino in the Citi Field parking lot, but that land is considered parkland, so state officials would need to give the okay, which Cohen is confident would happen.
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The Mets owner has spent over $2 million to try to secure a casino license: $1.5 million to a super PAC that supported the mayoral candidacy of Eric Adams, close to $480,000 in lobbying fees, and over $200,000 to Democratic leaders in New York, including Gov. Kathy Hochul.
“[Cohen and his team have] spent lots of money and spent a lot of time being introduced to a s–tload of state and city officials to start making relationships before officially making the ask,” another insider told The Post.
Ironically enough, Fred and Jeff Wilpon, from whom Cohen bought the Mets, are also bidding for a license in the Hudson Yards area of Manhattan. The Wilpons are seen as “key competition.”
Cohen’s casino would be the second in Queens, along with Resorts World at the Aqueduct racetrack.
The soccer stadium project is expected to be completed in 2027.