Nas partners investors in $5 billion development plan for New York

BY Preta Peace Namasaba March 11, 2024 2:19 PM EDT
Nas. Photo credit: RapTV

Hip-hop icon Nas has partnered with Resorts World for its $5 billion expansion in Queens, New York. The plan is to transform Aqueduct Park into a full-fledged casino that mirrors the company’s properties in Las Vegas. As part of the initiative, Nas will be investing in his hometown and the community around the casino.

At 350,000 square feet, Aqueduct Park is expected to be one of the largest casinos in the world. Resorts World intends to add 1,600 new hotel rooms to the 400 opened in 2021 at the adjoining Hyatt Regency JFK Airport. An additional 350,000 square feet of conference and entertainment space will include a 7,000-seat arena, a sports academy named after two-time NBA Champion Kenny Smith and a health center. The expansion has the potential to create 5,000 permanent union jobs in gaming and hospitality and another 5,000 in construction as early as this year.

Nas, who grew up in the Queensbridge housing projects, attended the announcement of the expansion alongside celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, Borough President Donovan Richards and State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. The Grammy Award-winning rapper was enthusiastic about the project’s transformational capabilities for families in the local area.

“It’s an honor to be here, to be a part of this with Resort[s] World, realizing the future, seeing what this can be and what it will be,” said Nas.

The plan envisions major upgrades to the surrounding neighborhood of Jamaica, Queens. New amenities include a community park spread across 10 acres, 3,000 units of workforce housing and mass transit improvements for connections to JFK and Manhattan. The Queens Community Board has already accepted the plans to build the 350,000 square feet property due to its benefits to residents.

Resorts World is in a race to secure one of only three $500 million downstate casino licenses available in New York. A license would allow the casino to expand its machine-based operations to include lucrative table games such as blackjack and poker. Opened in 2011 by Malaysian conglomerate Genting, Resorts World receives more than 5 million visitors a year.

“This is an ambitious project that will give new opportunities to the hard-working families who call Queens home, attract top-tier talent, and build up the next generation of leaders. Clearly, with this project, the world is ours,” Nas wrote on Instagram about the transformational casino project.

Nas has emerged as one of the most entrepreneurial artists from the ‘90s hip-hop era. The I Can hitmaker has invested heavily in tech startups including Dropbox, Lyft and Robinhood and cashed out a reported $40 million in 2018 after Amazon bought Ring, the doorbell company, for $1.1 billion. He also owns investment firm QueensBridge Venture Partners, cigar label Escobar Cigars, and clothing line HSTRY, among others.