SL Green, Caesars pursue Times Square gaming license

SL Green Realty Corp. and Caesars Entertainment have formed a partnership to redevelop 1515 Broadway as an entertainment and gaming destination in Times Square. The project is expected to include a hotel.

“We believe that Times Square offers the best location for a new resort-casino that can attract tourists and benefit local businesses,” said Marc Holliday, CEO, SL Green. “We’re excited to pursue this license with Caesars and our many local partners. Our approach will ensure that under-represented communities benefit both in terms of employment and investment opportunities. A casino in Times Square is in keeping with existing uses in the area. Times Square is the center of the entertainment universe. Because we are proposing a renovation, once the license is issued, we can open quicker than other facilities, which require entirely new construction, changes in law and will be disruptive to their local communities.”

The companies report that Caesars Palace Times Square will not only provide billions in tax revenue to New York City and State, but it will also accelerate New York’s economic recovery through strategic partnerships with area businesses utilizing its loyalty program Caesars Rewards. Members will be able to use credits at Broadway shows, local hotels, restaurants, retail stores, comedy clubs, entertainment venues and more.

In addition to major economic benefits to all Times Square stakeholders, SL Green and Caesars are proposing significant security and traffic improvements as part of their proposal, which would boost Mayor Adams and the NYPD’s efforts in Times Square. These efforts will make visitors feel safer, improve mass transit, encourage pedestrian travel and mitigate vehicle congestion in the area, pursuant to a proposed traffic plan to be included as part of the project, the partners report.

The property will be designed to include a Broadway theater for “The Lion King.”

“Caesars is thrilled to partner with SL Green in connection with a five-star project that will meet and exceed New Yorkers’ expectations for world-class entertainment, immediately enhancing New York City’s tourism engine and elevating this one-of-a-kind global destination to new heights,” said Tom Reeg, CEO, Caesars.

Local businesses and others have expressed their support for the proposal. “A trip to New York isn’t complete without a visit to Times Square—it’s the crossroads of the world,” said Geoff Ballotti, president/CEO, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, which franchises 38 hotels in Manhattan and New York State. “A project of this scale and scope will help bring more tourists back to Times Square, fill hotel rooms not only here, but all across the city and create great jobs at the same time.”

Actors’ Equity stated, “The proposal from the developer for a Times Square Casino would be a game changer that boosts security and safety in the Times Square neighborhood with increased security staff, more sanitation equipment and new cameras. We applaud the developer’s commitment to make the neighborhood safer for arts workers and audience members alike.”

“Carmine’s has been in business in Times Square for over 30 years, and the public-private investments that were made in the late 90s and early 2000s literally transformed Midtown,” said Jeffrey Bank, president/CEO, Alicart Restaurant Group, which operates Carmine’s and Virgil’s BBQ. “It is time for us to reinvest again—Times Square is the beating heart of New York, but everyone in Times Square is still hurting from the pandemic. The Caesars Palace proposal is the key to bringing tourists back, making Times Square safer and is exactly the economic driver we need to not only recover but continue to grow and create more jobs.”

“A successful bid will provide a much-needed boost to area theaters, hotels, restaurants and businesses and commit to fund a wide range of neighborhood initiatives and improvements to make Times Square the safest, cleanest and most pedestrian-friendly entertainment district in the world,” said Michael Prohaska, business manager, Laborers’ Local 79. “This would mean bringing thousands of good union jobs to Midtown and enabling innovative new training and apprenticeship programs—initiatives that will provide disadvantaged community members with pathways to sustainable employment.”

“We know how to bring crime rates down in Times Square because we’ve done it before,” said former New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton. “With better security infrastructure and 24/7 monitoring, we can anticipate and prevent crime—we just need the financial and political willpower to do so. SL Green and Caesars’ proposal for Times Square goes beyond routine, in-house security and would invest millions in a new public-private safety initiative. This investment will ensure Times Square is safe for years to come.”