Op-Ed | Why I am betting on the Bronx

Soo Kim, Chairman – Bally’s Corporation
Photo courtesy Bally’s Corporation

I have been a New Yorker since arriving as a 5-year old from Korea. I grew up in various neighborhoods in Queens, including years in Whitestone where you could just about look across and see Ferry Point Park.  Those who were here in the 1980s know just how different things were back then. This was especially true of the Bronx — you could see tracts of hollowed out buildings riding across the Bruckner or the Cross Bronx.

But those who have been here long enough understand that the word “quit” is not in our vocabulary. Anyone lucky enough to call New York home knows that we reinvent ourselves — and our city — constantly.

That was certainly true for me. Among my family or friends growing up, no one knew a thing about Wall Street. Running a business in my community meant owning the local dry cleaner or greengrocer. Now, I find myself the Chairman of the NYSE-listed Bally’s Corporation and was recognized as The North American Gaming Executive of the Year in 2021 by Global Gaming. To think that a former public-school kid who learned English watching Sesame Street is leading one of the most iconic names in American gaming couldn’t be more quintessentially New York.

When Bally’s won the highly competitive contest to build the only casino in Chicago in 2022, we did so by working harder than other operators and presenting a unified vision to redevelop underutilized old-industrial land close to the city center and located near the main traffic arteries, creating hundreds of good-paying jobs in the process.

Today it’s the Bronx’s turn to take advantage of this opportunity. We are ready to bring a massive integrated resort that would marry an existing, world-class golf course with a five-star hotel and spa, banquet and events center, and a new casino property on the site of a former landfill.

Why Ferry Point in the Bronx? With more than 40 million cars passing the site annually across the Whitestone Bridge, you can count on easy access not just from the five boroughs, but also from Long Island, Westchester, Connecticut, and even Northern Jersey. The course is a stone’s throw from LaGuardia Airport, and the New York City Ferry will get you there in about 15 minutes from the Upper East Side.

Of course, our vision for the future of Ferry Point will always put the local community first. That’s why Bally’s and the Throggs Neck Business Improvement District worked together to bring a free shuttle service running between Ferry Point and Westchester Square. This shuttle service has already made a huge difference, seamlessly connecting East Bronxites to the Throgg’s Neck Ferry Landing and other public transit. The Bally’s shuttle also makes stops around the neighborhood, giving a much-needed boost to small businesses in Throggs Neck.

We’re also excited to continue our strong track record around the country of creating good-paying, union jobs that prioritize local residents. These are jobs that will help you be able to support your family, and they’ll offer meaningful opportunities for career advancement.

The positive economic impacts for the Bronx can’t be overstated. Once completed, this will be the largest private development in the history of the Bronx. Think of what a boon it will be to this borough’s tourism economy to have a world-class integrated resort drawing people who will no doubt want to visit all the iconic attractions this borough has to offer, including Arthur Avenue, the Botanical Garden, the Bronx Zoo, the Hip Hop Museum, and of course the house that Ruth built, Yankee Stadium.

Ultimately, Bally’s Golf Links at Ferry Point represents so much more than just one site. It is the culmination of a story that began just on the other side of the Whitestone Bridge, where I started my journey all those years ago. My story is only possible in a place like New York – and with this exciting project, I’m ready to give back to the city that has given me so much.

Soo Kim is chairman of Bally’s Corporation.