Moves are ongoing to potentially convert overflow parking lots outside the New York Mets Citi Field stadium into a premier casino and entertainment complex. The area that is in question is considered parkland, and a change in state law would be necessary in order to allow it to be for other uses.
This has led Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry to introduce legislation, with the text of the bill including the following passage;
“The city of New York is authorized to discontinue the use as parkland and alienate through the entering of leases or other agreements with New Green Willets, LLC … for the purposes of developing, constructing, maintaining, operating, using, or occupying such lands with a gaming facility,”
A number of applications are underway for new casino operations in the state, with three $500 million downstate casino licenses in the offing.
Mets owner Steve Cohen is keen to get things running on the proposal, stating;
“We are supportive of efforts to create a process that does this the right way and makes it possible to expand use of the area beyond just parking lots.”
Aubry is hoping to push through such efforts;
“They would not be able to compete without the legislation. They should have an opportunity to compete,”
“I’m also interested in the jobs and opportunities that would be provided to the local communities.” Aubry added.
The development would also include a public park and path connecting Willets Point No. 7 station and the Flushing Marina.
Cohen, who became a minority owner of the Mets in 2012, took majority control over the MLB franchise in 2020 and is a billionaire hedge fund manager, saw his team make the postseason for the first time since 2016 last season, only to lose in the National League Wild Card Series to the San Diego Padres.