Wynn’s Hudson Yards Office-Casino Proposal Faces Community Board Opposition

In September 2022, Wynn Resorts and Related Companies joined forces in an effort to pursue a casino license in New York. The duo selected Western Yards at Hudson Yards for the site of the ambitious project. New York is expected to award a total of three new downstate casino licenses so the interest in the two companies doesn’t come as a surprise.

But a change in the plans agreed between the city and Related Companies raised a few eyebrows members of the Manhattan Community Board 4 (MCB4) revealed a letter sent by the group. In March, Related’s chief operating officer, Andrew Rosen, presented a proposal during a meeting with the MCB4, outlining that the new and improved plan follows many of the points within an established agreement between the company and the city dating back to 2009.

Such included the opening of a new school, affordable housing and open spaces, among other amenities, including offices and a casino. “We are going to meet all of those obligations that we agreed to back then. We took those as a baseline for our proposal here,” said Rosen at the time.

Project Shift from Residential to Commercial Raises Concerns

In a letter to Related and the city, MCB4 members questioned what’s the point for New York to agree on projects with real estate developers regarding zoning changes when at a later point, those agreements are changed or discarded. MCB4’s letter reads: “Why should communities around the City of New York work with the real estate industry and the City government to respond and agree to zone changes with detailed site plans and Points of Agreement when such plans and agreements can be discarded at later date?”

Moreover, the MCB4’s letter highlighted the drastic changes to the proposed project for Hudson Yards. Members of the Board said that they could not support such a sudden change, shifting the project’s focus from residential to commercial, together with a casino.

During a recent MCB4 meeting, Josephine Ishmon, one of the Board’s members, was skeptical about the new project, outlining that it makes a significant difference whether the project offers a school or not. Moreover, she questioned the number of residential housing units, warning that if there are not enough units and people with children living there, a school may not be added to the area. “What I don’t want is that the School Construction Authority says ‘oh no you’re not getting a school, we can’t fill the seats’ … and then what happens to the space,” asked Ishmon.

While the initial project featured nearly 5,800 housing units, the changes decreased this total to 1,507. From that number, only 324 would be designated as “affordable” which was another concern for the MCB4.