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Author: The BCW

Playland and Empire City Casino Focus of BCW State of the Economy Program

From left, Dominick D. Petramale, Executive Vice President, Chief Retail Officer, PCSB Bank; Michael P. Goldrick, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer, PCSB Bank; Evonne Keeler, CEO, Standard Amusements Playland; BCW President & CEO Marsha Gordon; Taryn Duffy, Vice President of Public Affairs, Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts; Kim DeMilia, Executive Vice President, Division Head, Commercial Lending, PCSB Bank; and Michael Schiliro, Senior Vice President, PCSB Bank

Two of Westchester’s significant transformational projects — Standard Amusements Playland and Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts — were the focus of a highly informative Business Council of Westchester State of Economy forum held April 11. Featured speakers were Evonne Keeler, CEO of Standard Amusements Playland and Taryn Duffy, Vice President of Public Affairs at Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts.

Keeler outlined Playland’s public-private partnership between Standard Amusement and Westchester County which is providing a $150 million investment for a transformational multi-year development project. “The Playland of yesterday and today is evolving for the future. And that includes infrastructure upgrades, the rehab of historic buildings, new rides, attractions, games, retail, dining, and landscaping to provide beautiful, lush backdrops to the already existing scenic settings. Playland is Westchester, and Westchester is Playland,” she said adding, “We are committed to hiring local and continuing the county’s achievements in being the largest summer youth employer the past two years.” 

Playland has a total seasonal employment of 850 as well as 40 full- time and 50 part time employees. “We impact nearly almost every facet within the job market from construction, including manufacturing and trades to professional services such as engineering, architecture, design, security, public safety, emergency services,” she said. 

“Playland is so much more than just an amusement park. Our mission and vision are to bring back Playland as a fully programmed, dynamic, unique and ever-changing waterfront destination for all of us to discover and create joyful moments as you experience your version of Playland. Whether you visit for a few hours or decide to spend the day at Playland, our multi-year reinvigoration plan will expand and focus on culture, community travel, tourism,” she said.

Duffy noted the tremendous economic impact the soon-to-be MGM Empire City will have on the City of Yonkers, Westchester County and beyond if granted one of the three available commercial casino licenses in New York.

“The investment MGM Resorts is ready to make in Empire City will be the most significant regional investment in MGM Resorts history,” said  Duffy “Our workforce will triple with 2000 direct hires, and over 10,000 indirect and induced hires from the resulting $1 billion of new economic activity in the region. Our current $88 million annual payroll will increase by $102 million. Pun aside, it will be a game-changer for the region.”

Duffy also noted that MGM Resorts, which acquired Empire City Casino in 2019, has already made a life-changing investment in the workforce, doubling employee wages. Employees also receive more paid vacation, sick and personal days, free or low cost medical/dental and life insurance as well as either a pension or  401K plan.   

MGM Resorts is ready to invest over $1.7 billion in private investment capital expenditures in addition to a $500 million license fee to the state. This $2.2 billion investment is in addition to the $1 billion MGM Resorts has already invested in the property. Duffy presented renderings of the MGM Resorts multi-phase expansion plans as they compete for a full-scale casino license. The development will double in size with a full renovation of all existing spaces, the addition of new amenities including three new restaurants, a retail sportsbook, and a 4,500 space parking garage to improve the arrival experience for guests.

Duffy noted MGM Resorts is the third largest ticket seller to live performances and there is great excitement around the designs for a 5,000 capacity entertainment venue with opportunities to bring artists with Las Vegas residencies to Yonkers. The Business Council of Westchester has been actively advocating for the state to approve a full gaming license for Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts. The BCW is Co-Chair of A Sure Bet for New York’s Future, an alliance that brings together businesses, community organizations, labor groups, non-profit organizations, and other local groups who support MGM Resorts receiving a full-scale commercial casino license for Empire City Casino in Yonkers.

The forum on Westchester’s transformational projects is part of the BCW’s ongoing State of the Economy series presented by PCSB Bank.  Both Standard Amusements Playland and Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts are BCW Members.

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