Jay-Z’s entertainment company Roc Nation has published an open letter to New York City as part of its bid to operate a proposed casino in Times Square. In addition to tweeting it out, the company took out ads in the New York Post, New York Daily News, and Amsterdam News to run the letter, according to Billboard.
“The winning licensee must always put the well-being of New Yorkers at the top of their agenda and do right by its residents,” the letter states. “This is too important of a moment in our city’s illustrious history. Times Square, the epicenter of entertainment with a palpable energy, is unmatched. Roc Nation and our partners are here to ensure Times Square remains connected to all facets of culture. There’s no better location for a Caesars Palace entertainment destination than the Crossroads of the World.”
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The company also included bullet points outlining why it should be awarded the casino license over other groups. Roc Nation’s plan, it says, “gives back to all surrounding businesses, benefits mass transit, invests money into sanitation and security, … develops and delivers a much-needed transportation plan, protects the interests of the actors, producers, theatre staff, writers, and patrons that represent the true heart and soul of Broadway, [and] provides opportunity for all.”
The company also said that the winning party should have a track record of promoting diversity in its hiring processes and represent New Yorkers from all five boroughs. “Hate, as well as groups that have a history of oppressing the most vulnerable, have no place in New York,” the statement reads.
New York State’s Gaming Facility Location Board issued a request for casino license applications in early January for the New York City region. The New York Times reports that each bidder must include a $500 million capital investment and be ready to pay an additional $500 million in fees. They must also pay a nonrefundable $1 million application fee just to be considered. The gaming commission will likely make a decision by late 2023.
Roc Nation has partnered with SL Green Realty Corp. and Caesars Entertainment on its bid.
Last month, a group of Times Square businesses that includes the Broadway League and the restaurant/Broadway outpost Sardi’s formed the No Times Square Casino Community Coalition, reports the New York Times. “We believe [the proposed casino] challenges the cultural significance and the unique character that Broadway has delivered for New York for such a long time,” Broadway League president Charlotte St. Martin told the Times. “Obviously, we are just coming back and getting healthy, and we believe that a casino will damage that character and damage attendance.”
Roc Nation’s competition includes Steve Cohen, who owns the New York Mets; Stephen Ross, who owns the Miami Dolphins; developer Stefan Soloviev; and John Catsimatidis, who runs a Manhattan chain of grocery stores called Gristedes.
Read Roc Nation’s full letter:
IT’S TIME, TIMES SQUARE
Dear New York,
A gaming license is going to be awarded to New York City. A bill was passed in the state legislature confirming it. The question is: which applicant will get the license? Some conflicted parties have attempted to spread misinformation, so we wanted to speak to you, New York City, directly.
The winning group must have a track record of turning words into deeds — of putting New York City and its residents first — people of all races, religions, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, and socio-economic statuses. New Yorkers in every corner of every borough — all of us. The winning organization must have a history of campaigning for fair hiring, representation, and reform. Hate, as well as groups that have a history of oppressing the most vulnerable, have no place in New York.
The winning licensee must always put the well-being of New Yorkers at the top of their agenda and do right by its residents. This is too important of a moment in our city’s illustrious history. Times Square, the epicenter of entertainment with a palpable energy, is unmatched. Roc Nation and our partners are here to ensure Times Square remains connected to all facets of culture. There’s no better location for a Caesars Palace entertainment destination than the Crossroads of the World.
Our proposal lays out an innovative plan that will not only draw additional tourists to our city but will also enhance the lives of everyday New Yorkers.
• Gives back to all surrounding businesses.
• Benefits mass transit.
• Invests money into sanitation and security from the bowtie all the way west into Hell’s Kitchen.
• Develops and delivers a much-needed transportation plan.
• Protects the interests of the actors, producers, theatre staff, writers and patrons that represent the true heart and soul of Broadway.
• Provides opportunity for all.
Caesars Palace Times Square will benefit all of New York— the hotel and restaurant workers in the area, retailers, and surrounding neighborhoods. Our bid commits $115 million for diverse theater programs that include daycare for Broadway workers and their families.
Our bid honors the city of dreams, New York City, and the people that have made this place we call home the cultural and entertainment capital of the world. This is our moment, our opportunity to capture the energy of Times Square and invest in our city. You’re a New Yorker, you get it.
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