The Coney Casino Sweetens Brooklyn Resort Pitch With Rooftop Public Space

Posted on: March 12, 2024, 12:27h. 

Last updated on: March 12, 2024, 01:20h.

The Coney Casino & Resort, a multibillion-dollar project proposed for Brooklyn’s Coney Island, is sweetening its pitch with a rooftop public space that the developers say could become a focal gathering point for the community.

The Coney Island casino New York Brooklyn
The Coney Casino & Resort proposal now includes a rooftop public space. The developers of the proposed entertainment destination say the rooftop could become Coney Island’s primary gathering place. (Image: The Coney)

The Coney is one of nearly a dozen bids seeking one of the three downstate New York commercial casino licenses. The state’s Gaming Facility Location Board will soon begin fielding and reviewing the applications, with the licenses expected to be issued by the end of the year or in early 2025.

If The Coney wins one of the coveted concessions, which each cost a one-time fee of $500 million, the developers say a casino resort would come to Coney Island’s iconic Boardwalk. The project is targeting five acres of land at Surf and Stillwell avenues near the famed amusements, including the Cyclone rollercoaster and Wonder Wheel.

The Coney is being pitched by a consortium involving Oklahoma-based Chickasaw Nation’s Global Gaming Solutions in partnership with New York-based entitles Saratoga Casino Holdings, Thor Equities, and Legends.

Public Amenity

The Coney developers told on Tuesday that the project was recently amended to include a rooftop public space. The area will be accessible from the street, meaning the public won’t need to traverse the casino to reach the community amenity.

The public roof is one acre, roughly the size of the central lawn at Bryant Park or Little Island. It will be a free attraction for the public and will help to extend visitation in all seasons,” a statement from The Coney team explained.

Coney Island is currently limited on public space, with the beach being the primary exception. The Coney developers say the rooftop could become a place for the community to meet and mingle, play, sunbathe, read, and relax.

It is a unique space that makes for a variety of uses, including a calming respite, children’s play, a place to enjoy food and beverage, and take in the art installations.”

The rendering provided shows an outdoor café with lush landscaping and unobstructed views of New York Bay.

The New York Gaming Facility Location Board will grade each casino bid based on four weighted factors, with 70% of the mark based on the proposal’s “economic activity and business development.” Three other factors, “local impact siting,” “workforce enhancement,” and “diversity framework,” will each account for 10%.

Community Gamechanger

New York Gaming Facility Location Board Chair Brian O’Dwyer has said that proposed casinos should seek to “transform” their targeted host community. The Coney developers believe they have the best bid to accomplish that mission.

Along with thousands of good-paying careers, tens of millions of dollars in new annual local tax revenue, and possibly new public transportation to Brooklyn’s south end, the casino backers say the resort would transform Coney Island into a year-round destination.

“We can completely reactivate the whole Boardwalk area into a new entertainment district,” Paul Pippin, chief operating officer of Global Gaming Solutions, told in January.

There is plenty of local opposition, including from Community Board 13, which represents Coney Island in the city government.

A Community Board endorsement, however, isn’t needed to qualify a bid. Instead, each bid’s Community Advisory Committee, a panel consisting of six members appointed by elected state and city officials, must endorse a project for it to be reviewed by the Gaming Facility Location Board.