Metropolitan Park Commits More Than $1 Billion in Community Benefits and Transit Improvements for Queens

By Metropolitan Park | February 7, 2024


Visionary $8 billion plan would transform Citi Field parking lot into 25 acres of public open space, 15,000 good-paying jobs and careers and a year-round sports and entertainment park

QUEENS, NY – The leaders of Metropolitan Park today joined with Queens community leaders to detail $1 billion in specific community benefits, climate readiness and transit improvements as part of the plan to transform the 50 acres of asphalt around Citi Field into a revolutionary sports and entertainment park.

Metropolitan Park, an $8 billion commitment by Mets owner Steve Cohen and Hard Rock International, will provide the Queens community with the construction and operation of 25 acres of new public park space, the creation of a Taste of Queens Food Hall, the modernization of the Mets-Willets Point 7 train station and the creation of a Community Impact Trust to serve community needs.

New York Mets owner Steve Cohen said, “We have learned through three years of conversations with the people who live and work in Queens that serving the interests of the communities surrounding Citi Field must be at the center of this project.  Committing over $1 billion in benefits and transit improvements is critical to achieving a shared vision for the area we can all be proud of.”

Jim Allen, Chairman of Hard Rock International, said, “Hard Rock at Metropolitan Park is a long-term investment into the people and businesses of Queens. Not only will our venue bring people together for memorable shared experiences, but we can create jobs with competitive salaries and benefits and life-long careers adding to the more than 60,000 workforce we employ around the world. We’re excited to bring our unique brand of world-class entertainment – along with jobs and opportunity – to Queens.”

The detailed community benefits, contingent on the group receiving a gaming license, are a part of the $8 billion proposal to convert parking lots around Citi Field into a community-driven vision that delivers over 15,000 good-paying jobs and careers, 25 acres of new public park space and athletic fields, and a renovated and accessible mass transit station.

As part of creating Metropolitan Park, Cohen and Hard Rock International are committed to the following community benefit and transit investments:

 – CREATE NEW OPEN PUBLIC PARK SPACE: $320 million to construct, operate and maintain approximately 25 acres of new public open space at Metropolitan Park

 – PROVIDE COMMUNITY SUPPORT AND INVESTMENT: $163 million for a Community Impact Trust that will provide grants to non-profit organizations serving Queens communities and residents. Focus will be on:

– Legal aid for immigration
– Addiction and mental health services
– Food insecurity initiatives
– Upkeep and improvement of Flushing Meadows Corona Park and other open green space
– Anti-displacement or relocation assistance
– Expanding youth programming
– Other community priorities

BUILD TASTE OF QUEENS FOOD HALL: $150 million to build Taste of Queens, a community-oriented green food market that will operate year-round and feature Queens-based food vendors that celebrate the rich culinary and cultural diversity of our community.

 – MODERNIZE METS WILLETS POINT TRAIN STATION AND INVEST IN CLIMATE READINESS: $480 million for public infrastructure improvements, including transforming the Mets-Willets Point 7 Train station into a welcoming entrance to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. This will create long-overdue ADA accessibility, create safer neighborhood connectivity and deliver significant investment in climate resiliency measures.

 – SUPPORT RESPONSIBLE GAMING AND IMPROVE YOUTH AND SENIOR SERVICES: $25 million for community identified health care and youth and senior needs, including:

– $10,000,000 for a health clinic in East Elmhurst;
– $10,000,000 for a youth and senior center in Corona; and
– $5,000,000 for addiction and mental health services infrastructure in Flushing.

In addition to the financial commitments to the greater Queens community, Cohen and Hard Rock International are committing to minority-and women- owned business enterprise (M/WBE) contracting, local hiring and workforce development initiatives, a small business lending programing, child care for employees and a responsible gaming program.

Tom Grech, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Queens Chamber of Commerce said, “The Queens Chamber of Commerce is fully behind the Metropolitan Park plan for three reasons – Jobs, jobs and jobs. Workers and families across Queens need these construction and long-term jobs and this investment is going to be a major economic shot in the arm for our local community.”

Saeeda Dunston, CEO of Elmcor, said, “Metropolitan Park is a major investment into our community and will help us achieve our mission – fostering positive life changes for individuals and families. The proposal’s significant commitment to both skills development and responsible gaming means we can do so in a sustainable way. The jobs they are creating will help more people lead self-sufficient lives and foster a strong, empowered community.”

Costa Constantinides, Variety Boys and Girls Club, said, “This area has been an empty blight – dividing Queens from itself and missing out on an opportunity for investment. Transforming the parking lot around Citi Field in Metropolitan Park would deliver concrete benefits for communities and families across Queens in the form of good jobs, green space and areas for gaming and entertainment. Now is the time to invest in Queens. This is the plan.”

Bishop Mitchell G. Taylor, CEO & Co-Founder of Urban Upbound, said, “Tackling poverty and changing lives starts with investments into our people and economic opportunities for our community. The Metropolitan Park plan does exactly that. These smart investments will create the tools and resources needed to achieve economic mobility and self sufficiency.”

Frankie Miranda, President and CEO of the Hispanic Federation, said, “The financial health and well-being of our community requires strong partnerships with stakeholders in the private, nonprofit, and government sectors. By partnering with Metropolitan Park, we’re empowering traditionally underserved communities in Queens by providing culturally and linguistically competent training and employment opportunities. Thank you Metropolitan Park and everyone who is working tirelessly to strengthen Latinos and other communities of color in Queens now and for generations to come.”

José Tejada, Executive Director of Dominico-American Society of Queens, said, “Since our founding, we have been committed to helping the Dominico-American and the hispanic low income/immigrants community develop the critical career related training they need to support themselves and their families. Metropolitan Park is the perfect partner in that mission. This is a serious investment that will help us create good-paying jobs and careers for people at every skill and education level.”

Tammy Rose, Owner of Little Friends School Sunnyside & Member of Community Board 3, said, “I’ve invested my life working to grow and improve Queens – starting with accessible child care and youth education. Frankly, I’m tired of all of the false promises and missed opportunities. Metropolitan Park is a serious investment into our communities – helping create jobs, delivering local services and support, and reconnecting communities that have been divided for too long. It’s time we put Queens first.”

Michael De Valera, Queens Small Business Owner, said, “As a business owner, I want to see visitors coming to – and staying in – Queens. That’s good for me and all of the other local businesses. This plan will create a year-round destination. That means business right here in Queens.”

Shanel Thomas Henry, Queens Small Business Owner and life-long resident of East Elmhurst Corona Community, said, ”With input from the surrounding communities, this vision has been developed the right way. These investments reflect that. It will create new parks for families and children, jobs and careers for residents and support services for local residents. It’s a win-win-win done the right way.”

Hyun T. Lee, the President of the Korean American Association of Queens, said, “I am excited to learn about the community benefit program being announced today. I’ve actively engaged in various visioning sessions and meetings Mr. Steve Cohen and his team organized. Upon learning about their development plan, I took the initiative to discuss it with numerous neighbors and friends, many of whom are small business owners like me in Queens. The consensus among those I spoke to is that transforming the 50-acre asphalt land into something substantial is a positive and forward-looking idea. I am optimistic that, through collective efforts, we can transform the currently vacant asphalt parking lot into something truly remarkable for the benefit of our community.”


ABOUT METROPOLITAN PARK: Turning a Parking Lot into a Park 

Metropolitan Park will be a space that people can come to every day of the year to hang out by the waterfront, enjoy the park, listen to live music, try their luck at the casino, place a bet at the casino, as well as eat, drink, and shop at locally-owned small businesses.

The result is a vision that delivers:

An investment of $8 billion
– 15,000 good-paying permanent and construction jobs
– 20 acres of new park space and 5 acres of community athletic fields and playgrounds
– Climate-ready infrastructure including solar, green roofs, and flood mitigation
– Visionary entertainment complex with a Hard Rock hotel, live music venue, and gaming
– New connections to the waterfront, park, and surrounding community
– Taste of Queens Food Hall
– Accessible and renovated mass transit station
– Improved and modernized road network, bike paths, and parking infrastructure

Building dedicated open space for the public

Parks and public space are essential to any community. Dedicated green spaces are needed for people to enjoy and relax and the area around Citi Field shouldn’t be an exception.

Creating permanent local jobs and economic opportunity for local small businesses

Turning this space into usable parks for the public and an entertainment destination with live music, restaurants and bars will create thousands of good-paying jobs throughout the construction process.  This will mean opportunities for local residents and minority and women owned businesses, as well as access to on-going workforce training programs.

Connecting surrounding neighborhoods to the waterfront

Metropolitan Park is an opportunity to connect the surrounding neighborhoods, create easy and safe waterfront access, increase walkability and cycling access, and improve transportation options.

Bringing year-round entertainment to life

Entertainment is the economic engine that will make this area a destination every single day of the year— regardless of the weather or if it’s baseball season.

Creating a Taste of Queens Food Hall

Queens is widely celebrated for its rich culinary scene. By featuring local restaurants and vendors, we can showcase the incredible cultural diversity of Queens. The borough is famous for its vibrant street food culture and offering some of the most authentic food experiences outside of each cuisine’s native country.