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Betting on Manhattan: Soloviev Group CEO says he likes his chances of being considered for downstate casino proposal 

The Turn To Tara team took a behind-the-scenes tour of another site being considered for a lucrative downstate casino proposal.

Tara Rosenblum and Lee Danuff

Jan 25, 2024, 11:15 PM

Updated 172 days ago

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The Turn To Tara team took a behind-the-scenes tour of another site being considered for a lucrative downstate casino proposal.
A dozen gaming giants are rumored to be applying for one of the three highly coveted casino licenses in New York state. The list includes some of the world's largest casino operators and developers. 
As News 12 previously reported, Soloviev Group CEO Michael Hershman dropped the news to our senior reporter Tara Rosenblum that they are teaming up with Banyan Tree as a hotel partner for a casino pitch near the United Nations in Manhattan.
This would be the first U.S. property for the hotel chain, known for luxury wellness getaways.
The name of the project is Freedom Plaza, and it would be housed on the largest undeveloped lot in Manhattan - located just south of the UN headquarters on First Avenue between 38th and 41st streets.
The Field of Light is currently on the site of Freedom Plaza, a free public art installation that features about 19,000 lights - made possible by the Soloviev Foundation. 
Hershman says they have much more than art in mind for the land. His hope is for a $10 billion mega mixed-use destination that would include an underground casino, two residential towers, a 1,200-room hotel - and even a museum that is dedicated to democracy.
"When they announced last year that they were going to award three downstate casinos, we started to change our plans because we thought this would be a perfect site for it," he says. "Our plan is to build an integrated resort for the community, really for the city and for the world. And we've had a lot of community input as what they would like to see."
What could be their ace in the hole with the state Gaming Commission are plans to build more than 500 units of affordable housing at the site.
"In recent history, there's been virtually no affordable housing built in this district," he says. 
Hershman says the Soloviev Group feels that luck is on their side. 
"I think that our plan is better than just about any other that I've seen," he says. 
Catch the rest of Tara Rosenblum's conversation Sunday morning on Power & Politics.
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