New York Mets Owner Steve Cohen Unveils "Metropolitan Park"

Christiana de Borja

Renowned as the wealthiest owner in Major League Baseball,[1] Steve Cohen, owner of the New York Mets, envisions a transformative project for the city. "It's time the world's greatest city got the sports and entertainment park it deserves," he said.[2] On November 7th, 2023, Cohen unveiled his ambitious plans for an $8 billion development around Citi Field in Flushing, Queens, New York.[3]

This groundbreaking project, dubbed "Metropolitan Park," is set to encompass a 50-acre area surrounding the ballpark, featuring a Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, vibrant bars, restaurants, food halls, community athletic fields, playgrounds, enhanced bike paths, and a myriad of other amenities.[4] If successfully approved, this initiative would not only elevate Citi Field into a must-visit destination for New Yorkers and Mets fans, but also attract visitors from outside of the state.[5]

Beyond the scope of entertainment, Cohen's project is poised to generate thousands of permanent union jobs, with a focus on preferential hiring for local residents.[6] Those involved emphasize that this endeavor transcends a mere venue—it is a comprehensive plan designed to uplift the local community and redefine the dynamics of the surrounding areas.[7]

However, these ambitious visions hang in precarious uncertainty, contingent on substantial "ifs." Presently, Cohen's plan stands merely as a proposal, entangled in a web of legal complexities that pose formidable obstacles to approval. The primary challenge emerges from the fact that the designated 50 acres are currently predominantly zoned for parkland.[8] To transition this space into a commercial venture, Cohen must navigate a potentially prolonged public process, seeking approval from the New York State Legislature.[9] Notably, this entails securing the endorsement of the current governor, Kathy Hochul.[10] Nevertheless, Cohen, in a proactive approach, has reportedly engaged with the community and enlisted the aid of lobbyists to garner support from elected officials.[11]

A second challenge surfaces in relation to the proposed casino and sportsbook at Metropolitan Park. The establishment of such a gambling facility necessitates the acquisition of a gaming commission license.[12] Complicating matters, the New York State Gaming Commission intends to issue merely three casino licenses, specifically designated for locations in New York City, Long Island, or Westchester County.[13] Consequently, Cohen finds himself in fierce competition with a dozen other applicants vying for this coveted license. Notable contenders include Times Square, Hudson Yards, the Bally's Golf Links at Ferry Point, Coney Island, and the Nassau Coliseum.[14]

Anticipation will continue to build as these pivotal decisions are made regarding the approval of Metropolitan Park. Cohen, reflecting on the significance of the monumental venture, stated, "When I bought this team, fans and the community kept saying we needed to do better. Metropolitan Park delivers on the promise of a shared space that people will not only want to come to and enjoy, but can be truly proud of."[15] The unfolding chapters of this saga will undoubtedly captivate onlookers, offering a glimpse into the potential future of a space designed not just for recreation, but for fostering a profound sense of pride and unity among Mets fans and New Yorkers.


[1] Brad Wakai, New York Mets Owner Unveils Incredible Plans for Citi Field Renovation, Sports Illustrated (Nov. 7, 2023, 7:00 PM), [] [].

[2]  Erica Byfield & Brad Luck, New York Mets Owner Steve Cohen Announced $8B Plan To Develop Area Around Citi Field in Queens, NBC N.Y. (Nov. 8, 2023, 8:50 AM), [] [].

[3] Mike Chiari, Mets’ Steve Cohen Unveils $8B, 50-Acre Investment Around Citi Field with Casino, More, Bleacher Rep. (Nov. 7, 2023), [] [].

[4] Id.

[5] Wakai, supra note 1.

[6] Vincent Frank, New York Mets Stadium Project, Las Vegas and the New Multi Billion-Dollar Industry, SportsNaut (Nov. 15, 2023), [] [].

[7] Id.

[8] Barry Bloom, Mets’ Cohen To Invest $8B in Casino and Park Near Citi Field, Sportico (Nov. 7, 2023, 9:46 PM), [] [].

[9] Id.

[10] Austin Nivison, Mets Owner Steve Cohen Proposed $8 Billion Entertainment District Adjacent To Citi Field, CBS Sports (Nov. 7, 2023, 12:59 PM), [] [].

[11] Wakai, supra note 1.

[12] Byfield & Luck, supra note 2.

[13] Id.

[14] Wakai, supra note 1.

[15] Nivison, supra note 10.