Times Square Casino Hyped by Jay-Z’s Roc Nation with Open Letter to New York Residents
If Jay-Z drops a new blueprint anytime soon, it won’t be the next installment in his album series. But it might be the designs for the Caesars Entertainment casino he’s backing for Times Square in his native New York.
The billionaire rap mogul’s entertainment company, Roc Nation, has launched a promotional blitz this week for the planned project.
Instead of a hot freestyle, Roc Nation dropped an open letter touting the potential of the casino. It was published on Thursday in many New York newspapers.
A coalition of Caesars, Roc Nation, and developer SL Green are competing with several other billionaire investor and casino operator teams for one of three New York casino licenses soon to be made available.
Prospective casino builders and their planned sites include a Coney Island consortium, New York Mets owner Steve Cohen teamed with Hard Rock in NYC’s Queens, and Las Vegas Sands vying for a casino in Nassau County on Long Island.
The Times Square casino plan has already received stiff opposition from local residents and business owners. Especially against it are the Broadway theater owners, who specifically oppose the plan via The Broadway League.
The Roc Nation statement hits back at these critics, while bringing up the positives a casino could provide to the area.
“Some conflicted parties have attempted to spread misinformation,” the letter said. “So, we wanted to speak to you, New York City, directly. That’s why our proposal lays out an innovative plan that will not only draw additional tourists to our city, but also enhance the lives of everyday New Yorkers.”
The letter noted that the casino plans promise to boost the local economy, improve mass transit in a busy area, and regenerate the presentation, sanitation, and security.
“There’s no better location for a Caesars Palace entertainment destination than at the crossroads of the world,” it said.
The planned casino would be built on the top floors of 1515 Broadway, an existing skyscraper in Times Square that’s right in the heart of New York City’s famous Broadway theater district.
The casino bid includes an earmarked $115 million fund to help Broadway theater performers and workers and fund new arts programs.
Moment and Opportunity
The Jay-Z team’s letter ended on an emotive note. “Our bid honors the city of dreams, New York City, and the people who have made this place we all call home the cultural and entertainment capital of the world,” it said.
“This is our moment, our opportunity, to capture the energy of Times Square, and invest in our city.”
The race for the last casino license has been heating up over the past couple of weeks. Out of the three available licenses, two are expected to be “grandfathered” to the two operators already running limited horse racing casinos in the state. That potentially leaves just one new license for several of the nation’s biggest casino operators.
However, public opinion could be a key battleground in the competition, potentially more so than any tax dollars. Hence, this latest open letter from Jay-Z and Roc Nation.
Expect many more press releases from the competing bidders before any license is issued.