The 3.8 million-square-foot convention center, which was to be built at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens by the Kuala Lumpur-based company, was a centerpiece to Cuomo’s job-creating plans announced in January. It would have been the biggest in the U.S. Cuomo, a 54-year-old Democrat, said today on New York’s WOR-AM that discussions with Genting fell through.
“We had those conversations going on for a few weeks,” Cuomo said in an interview with the host, former governor David Paterson. “Those conversations haven’t worked out.”
The broken deal is at least the second time this year that U.S. plans by Asia’s second-biggest casino operator by market value have failed. In February, its $3 billion hotel and casino project in Miami stalled when a Florida House of Representatives committee postponed a vote on a bill to expand casino gambling.
A Genting spokesman, Stefan Friedman, said the company may still bid on a convention center project in the city.
The failed proposal would have replaced the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan as Genting expanded the casino it opened with electronic games in October at Aqueduct, near John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Cuomo said he’s now discussing building a convention center and casino with other companies. He said he plans a competition next year after the Legislature sends to voters a constitutional amendment that would allow Las Vegas-style casinos in the third-most-populous state.
“We now look forward to working with Governor Cuomo and participating in any competition for a convention center/casino project that the governor designs,” Friedman said by e-mail. In the failed negotiations, he said, “the uncertainties and difficulties regarding the constitutional amendment, competitive landscape, tax rate and infrastructure support made any decision difficult.”
Mark LaVorgna, a spokesman for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, declined to comment on the Genting news. The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.
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