Yonkers May Seek Convention Center For New York City Area


Empire City at Yonkers Raceway said it would consider building a convention center after a state deal to build one in Queens recently fell apart.

The Yonkers racetrack, which is 15 miles from midtown Manhattan, said a convention center could be part of its plans as it seeks state approval to open a full-scale casino. Yonkers Racetrack is developing a proposal to add a massive hotel and an 8,000-seat to 10,000-seat arena if it gets a casino.

“We’re a big believer that this site, this 100-acre parcel, is a great opportunity for a destination casino with all the amenities typically associated therewith,” said Timothy Rooney, Jr., the track’s general counsel.

“That means hotel, arena. Whether it means a full convention center or that being part of the hotel and arena complex, I think that’s things we are exploring right now in developing the master plan for the property.”

Yonkers Raceway has nearly 5,000 video-lottery terminals, putting it on par with Aqueduct Race Track in Queens as the two largest gambling facilities in the state.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo in January outlined a $4 billion deal for the Genting Group, a Malaysian-based gambling giant, to build the nation’s largest convention center at Aqueduct. Genting runs the Aqueduct racino.

Earlier this month, Cuomo said the convention center deal at Aqueduct had been scuttled because Genting sought exclusive gaming rights in New York City. Cuomo said the state wasn’t prepared to offer that exclusivity.

Cuomo said the state is talking with other developers for the Queens convention center, but also said he would entertain other sites, such as Yonkers and Belmont Park on Long Island.

“I think proximity to the New York City area is important,” Cuomo told reporters last week. “I don’t know does that mean five miles, does that mean 10 miles, does that mean Yonkers, does that mean Belmont, does that mean Aqueduct?”

The state is moving forward with plans to legalize up to seven casinos in New York. The state’s nine racetracks are vying to win the rights to turn their video-lottery parlors into casinos with table games and other Las Vegas-style amenities.

Rooney said the track would look to heavily invest in the facility if they get a full casino and would consider a convention center.

“It’s something that we’ll examine in determining what we think makes this site a world-class destination,” Rooney said.


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  1. Whoever benefits from this windfall should not be given one dollar of public money.

  2. are you kidding on

    it couldn’t work for queens and it won’t work for yonkers…people who fly to new york to
    go to a convention center want to be one place and one place only..Manhattan

  3. Go! Get it! They are giving Free Advice in Town of Ramapo!.. ( in Concert of Providient Bank in ” Havestraw! (Real Story Explore The TIMELINE of Rockland Politics! …You will forget Indonesia!

    HABIBHASAN- An American Stoeyteller.

  4. tacony palmyra on

    Neither Yonkers nor Queens can compete with Vegas or Orlando in the Convention business on costs, and they can’t compete on having year-round sunshine. The only reason to do a convention in New York is to do it in Manhattan. Vegas and Orlando can’t compete with New York on that one aspect. As close as Yonkers and Aqueduct are to Manhattan, conventioneers aren’t going to want to schlep into the city from there. They’re busy at the convention center all day and don’t want to have to make a trip into the city at night to see sights and get back on Metro-North or LIRR or a crowded A train.

    These plans for convention centers and gambling as a fix-all are basically scams from companies trying to win big subsidies to run their businesses. We need to stop falling for them. As more and more localities legalize gambling the advantage of having casinos becomes less and less until you’re basically just indirectly taxing your own residents– and people who frequently gamble are most likely to be poor and elderly. Again, Vegas has the market on lock for big spending casual gamblers. Why do we want to build more slot machines for little old ladies to waste their pensions?