Yonkers will receive $3.67 million from the Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway as part of a refinancing package the city’s Industrial Development Agency approved today.
Empire City is taking advantage of low interest rates by refinancing its $325 million overall debt, according to the Yonkers IDA. The debt includes a recent $40 million expansion that added a modern 35,000-square-foot gaming floor and two new restaurants — Dan Rooney’s Cafe and Bar and Pinch. The expansion created 100 construction jobs and 200 permanent casino positions.
The casino will pay the city $523,000 in previously agreed upon sales-tax reimbursements, $3 million in additional payments to the city’s general fund over two years, $500,000 to the IDA for economic-development efforts, and up to $150,000 in materials or cash for improvements to the Coyne Park Senior and Community Center located near the casino.
“This is a great deal for Yonkers taxpayers,” Mayor Mike Spano, chairman of the IDA, said in a statement. “The City is actually getting more money than if we had done nothing at all.”
The mayor said the IDA is providing Empire City with a mortgage recording tax exemption, and the city is receiving significantly more in return than the mortgage recording tax would have generated — $1.58 million in mortgage-tax payments and previously agreed upon sales tax reimbursements, for a total of $2.1 million.
Spano said he wants to encourage the casino to move forward with the second phase of its long-term expansion plan.”By refinancing, Empire City is going to be in a better position for future expansions, which will bring more jobs and expand the City’s tax base,” he said.
Tim Rooney Jr., general counsel at Empire City, said the casino continues to invest in Yonkers. “As the city’s largest private employer with nearly 1,400 employees representing 14 unions, we understand the need for economic development and are committed to making the investments necessary to ensure viability and job growth.” he said in a statement.
Spano said the extra funds will help the financially struggling city. Yonkers faces a projected $86 million deficit next year, he said.The money for Coyne Park will ensure needed renovations are done in a timely manner, he said.