MGM Buys Casino on Yonkers Avenue
MGM’s casino acquisition can invigorate Yonkers Ave. commercial corridor
Lohud 5/29/18 – by Akiko Matsuda
YONKERS – MGM Resorts’ $850 million acquisition of Empire City Casino and Yonkers Raceway could transform the surrounding business district, local real estate experts said in reaction to the deal announced Monday.
Despite its proximity to the iconic raceway, the Yonkers Avenue commercial corridor between Interstate 87 and Bronx River Parkway has not evolved much in recent years. The strip is occupied by businesses such as a car repair shop, liquor stores, diners, medical offices and nail salons.
“It’s an own entity unto itself. It’s neither fish nor fowl,” said Jonathan Gordon, president and CEO of Admiral Real Estate Services, who often handles leasing of retail spaces along the corridor. “It’s got a lot of residential behind on either side, and a lot of car traffic. The key is to get those people that are driving by or living there to shop there.”
But the new ownership can reshape the corridor because “it’s got bones, as we would say, to be more successful than it is, and MGM is only going to add confidence to that corridor.”
The growth of casino business under MGM could bring in “dynamic retailers” to the area, potentially starting a snowball effect, Gordon said.
“The more dynamic retailers you get, you get more people in the area, and you get more dynamic retailers in the area. It builds on itself,” Gordon said. “This could be — I’m not saying it’s definitely going to be — a huge opportunity for retailers and the shopping corridor.”
Kim Galton, director of retail with the Houlihan Lawrence real estate firm, agreed and said MGM’s acquisition will have a “very positive impact” to the area.
She predicts restaurants and hospitality businesses would be the first ones to grow and improve along the Yonkers Avenue corridor after MGM’s takeover, and retail stores — not necessarily national retailers but somewhat smaller ones — could follow.
“They are huge in the gaming industry. They’ve been very successful,” Galton said of MGM. “It will bring more New Yorkers to Yonkers for sure.”