Stefan Soloviev is the Soloviev Group's chairman. It is a holding company that declared its partnership with Mohegan on January 31, 2023, to acquire a casino license in New York. Mohegan was initially called Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment and it is a Connecticut casino operator.
Why Did the Two Companies Partner?
Soloviev Group is interested in venturing into New York's gaming market and is bidding for one of its three casino licenses. It joins other service providers who have collaborated with casinos to get licenses for Coney Island, Times Square, Hudson Yards, Nassau County, and Willets Point.
Even so, the Canadian company didn't rush to announce its partnership with Mohegan. Ray Pineault, Mohegan's Chief Executive, and President stated that their discussions with Soloviev Group started recently and other bidders had approached Mohegan for partnerships.
The Proposed Casino's Plan
The Soloviev Group has aspired to construct a casino in New York for over two decades. Even so, its recent bid might be successful as it plans to develop a 6.5-acre land in Midtown near the United Nations headquarters.
The site previously formed the erstwhile Con Edison power plant flanking East River at First Avenue. Michael Hershman, Soloviev Group's Chief Executive stated that that part of Midtown East lacks hotel rooms, restaurants, and retail. The casino's plan is called "Freedom Plaza" and it will increase the region's amenities.
The proposed gaming property is linked to an underground casino. It features a 1,200-room hotel, a museum, a green space with a huge Ferris Wheel, and two residential towers that will have up to 1,500 condos and rental apartments.
Soloviev Group officials stated that the museum will draw extensive private art and display huge Berlin Wall slabs. Hershman added that their reason for building a large section of the property underground is to conserve the green space for walking paths and sports fields.
Is the Partnership Likely to Face Obstacles?
Sheldon H. Solow, the Soloviev Group's founder, partnered with another investor to pay $630 million in 2000 for the 9.2 hectares.
Some of the obstacles faced include the dissolution of partnerships, updating the location plan, and the sale of part of the casino. Still, Solow got the green light to continue the development project including an office building office block and 3 residential towers.
The Soloviev Group will face stiff competition as it has another obstacle. Kyle Athayde, Community Board 6's chairman, claimed that they are opposing a plan comprising entertainment and a casino.
He believes that it isn't wise to open a large commercial complex in a big residential region. Hershman said the location is appropriate for a casino since it is near large roads and is a few minutes walk to Grand Central Station.
Are There Tough Competitors?
Top contenders for casino licenses include:
- Caesars Entertainment and SL Green Realty Corp's collaboration in Times Square
- Wynn Resorts and Related Companies' partnership for a multi-use gaming site
- Steven A. Cohen's proposed plan near Citi Field
- Thor Equities' casino license bid
- Bay Company's casino upgrade proposal
The Gaming Facility Location Board will decide on the casino license bids late this year. But, community feedback and land-use concerns might delay the process further.