A recent report on Coney Island highlights the community’s strong disagreement with the proposed $3 billion casino project.

Posted on: July 12, 2023, 12:48h. 

Last updated on: July 12, 2023, 12:48h.

A recently released study reveals that the majority of Coney Island residents are against the construction of a $3 billion integrated casino resort at Surf and Stillwell avenues near the famous Riegelmann Boardwalk.

Coney Island casino New York
A rendering of The Coney Casino & Resort. The $3 billion development targeting New York’s Coney Island faces an uphill batter after the Brooklyn Borough president said about three in four residents who submitted comments on the project have been in opposition to the project. (Image: The Coney Casino & Resort)

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso’s (D) office released yesterday the 40-page “Public Engagement Report: Coney Island Casino Proposal.” The report provides feedback from over 200 local residents.

Reynoso convened two public engagement sessions on March 6 to directly meet with Coney Island residents and stakeholders regarding the casino resort proposed by a consortium led by New York real estate firm Thor Equities. Other stakeholders include Saratoga Casino Holdings, the Chickasaw Nation, and Legends Hospitality.

The consortium has presented a $3 billion project named The Coney Casino & Resort, which includes a casino, hotel, a one-acre public park, retail shopping, and multiple restaurants, along with a one-time $500 million licensing fee to the state.

Concerns from the Community

In the review of the casino study, Reynoso, who remains neutral on the issue, reported that about three out of four public comments received were against the resort.

The feedback expressed concerns about potential increases in crime, drug and alcohol use, traffic, gambling addiction, and higher rental prices due to the casino. Opponents also questioned whether their property values would decline with a casino located so close and raised concerns about the impact on nearby businesses.

On the other hand, supporters of the casino highlighted the potential for more local jobs and the possibility of making Coney Island a year-round attraction.

Reynoso stated that the findings from the public engagement have been forwarded to the New York State Gaming Facility Location Board to assist the agency in deciding the allocation of the three downstate casino licenses. He also hopes that the Thor consortium will review the findings and improve their proposal.

In addition to obtaining a casino license from the state Gaming Facility Location Board, the resort also requires local approval from a newly formed Community Advisory Committee (CAC).

The CAC will consist of six members, appointed by the governor, mayor of New York City, relevant New York State senator and assemblyperson, relevant borough president, and relevant city councilor.

Highlighting the Benefits

Responding to criticism of The Coney, the Thor consortium recently launched a website to promote the benefits that the resort could bring to the Brooklyn neighborhood. The website, RevitalizeConey.com, claims that the casino would be “New York’s new beacon of economic opportunity.”

The developers argue that the resort would create thousands of new jobs, generate additional local tax revenue, and provide an overall economic boost to the region. The website also states that all feedback from the public will be taken into consideration.

“Our team is committed to being good neighbors and contributing members of the community. This means listening to your concerns and ensuring that this project benefits Coney Island,” states RevitalizeConey.com. “That’s why – whether it’s more parking spaces or increased public safety – we listen to community members and incorporate their feedback into our plans.”

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