SL Green and Caesars Entertainment have a glam new partner at their Times Square casino — Brooklyn-born billionaire rapper and entertainment impresario Jay-Z and his Roc Nation, Realty Check has learned.
The three-way partnership, to be announced at SL Green’s annual investor conference on Monday, marks a dramatic turn in the developer and Caesars’ quest to open a casino in SL Green’s 1515 Broadway office tower. (They are among a half-dozen communities expected to submit proposals to the state for the first full-scale casino in the Big Apple.)
While details have yet to be announced, Jay-Z and his team are expected to oversee entertainment at 1515 Broadway and other SL Green properties at the Crossroads of the World. SLG, the city’s largest commercial landlord, owns six Times Square properties totaling more than four million square feet.
Jay-Z said in a statement: “New York is the epicenter of culture. We have the ability to create an address in the center of the actual intersection of the word. My partnership with SL Green and Caesars holds every promise and commitment to economic opportunity, growth and enrichment for the community and everyone who visits the Empire State.
SLG CEO Mark Holliday also shared more details than ever before about his company’s casino offering.
Contrary to claims that Caesars Palace Times Square, to be called Times Square, would be an all-around mammoth gaming mecca, the casino is located on 54th between West 43d and 44th Streets. occupies only eight floors in a multi-story tower.
No one will have the first floor for non-game use, including access to the Minskoff Theater, home of The Lion King.
“We’re going to put the theater at ground level,” Holliday noted.
Casino floors can also be used for restaurants and entertainment. Holliday estimates that a “boutique”-sized casino could occupy a postage-stamp 250,000 square feet, compared to typical sprawling gaming venues in Atlantic City or Las Vegas.
A new five-star hotel with approximately 800 rooms will be built in the building above them. Holliday said he was “not yet prepared” for how the tower’s office tenants, including the headquarters of Paramount Global, would be affected.
He rejected claims by the Broadway League, which represents theater owners and producers, that the casino would be “dangerous” to Broadway theaters. Instead, he said, SL Green’s proposal is aimed at supporting all the businesses around it. Although the League strongly opposes a casino in its midst, the plan is enthusiastically supported by the owners of restaurants such as Carmine’s, Bond 45 and Junior’s, as well as Actors Equity, a hotel and building association. .
According to Holliday, consulting firm AKRF projects that casino visitors will buy 400,000 new Broadway tickets each year. In addition, SLG/Caesars/Roc Nation will purchase thousands of tickets directly to both casino patrons and underserved communities.
The casino company’s loyalty program, known as Caesars Rewards, which has 60 million members worldwide, is called bank rewards that can be used at hotels, restaurants, theaters and stores outside of 1515 Broadway.
As part of the Holliday “halo effect,” the casino generates seven million more annual visitors to Times Square, generates seven million restaurant meals outside the casino, and generates $166 million in off-site retail purchases.
According to SL Green, the 1515 Broadway project is needed to help the district’s slow, gradual decline in fortunes.
According to Holliday, the slide doesn’t yet mean a return to the lawless days of the 1970s and early 1990s — though crime is up significantly — but rather a slow but steady recovery of Times Square’s commercial energy and sense of safety. it was only 10 years ago.
Some big companies like Skadden and EY have moved. Vacancies in Times Square-area offices have risen from 5% in 2012 to nearly 25% today, according to CBRE.
Since Toys ‘R’ Us left in 2015, more national retailers, including Forever 21 and American Eagle Outfitters, have also sought to exit, citing a decline in the quality of the high street environment. Meanwhile, more taco, donut and other types of fast food joints are popping up.
The state will issue a formal request for proposal (RFP) to casino bidders next month. The nominating committee will send some responses to the state assembly committee, which is expected to choose one seat in five districts by the end of the year.
In addition to SLG/Caesars/Roc Nation, wannabe operators are expected to include related companies at Hudson Yards and Wynn Resorts, Mets owner Steve Cohen and a casino partner near Citi Field in Queens, Soloviev Building Company, and a casino partner for the complex. It was called Freedom Plaza on First Avenue in the East 30s.
At least one company is moving into Times Square: accounting consulting firm Anchin, Block & Anchin signed a lease for 45,673 in Rudin’s Three Times Square, which is undergoing a major $25 million renovation program.
Anchin will move from 1375 Broadway in the fall of 2023.
Michael Rudin, the landlord’s executive vice president, said Anchin was “exactly the firm we had in mind” when his company toured the Touro College and University System to transform the 243,000-square-foot signature tower earlier this year. There are approximately 450,000 square feet.
Anchin was invited by Colliers and Cushman & Wakefield. Rudin repeated at home.