CNN  — 

A pair of skyscrapers connected by a cantilevered “skybridge” and a rooftop infinity pool is set to join the New York City skyline, as developers unveiled a proposal for a new megaproject just south of the United Nations headquarters on Monday.

Designed by architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), the 615-foot-tall towers will contain two hotels, while a soaring lobby across the top will house restaurants, bars, an art gallery a glass-floored (and glass-ceilinged) viewing platform and — should a license be granted — a subterranean casino.

Along with two new residential towers, the skyscrapers will flank the newly unveiled Freedom Plaza development, a three-block-long public park with retail spaces and a new “Museum of Freedom and Democracy.”

The Midtown Manhattan site, which overlooks the East River, is currently occupied by a large-scale art installation “Field of Light,” by British Artist Bruce Munro, that was commissioned by the charitable arm of Soloviev Group, the property developer behind the plan. But the 6.7-acre patch of prime real estate, roughly the size of Madison Square Park, has sat largely unused since the 2000s.

The "skybridge" connecting the two hotel towers is set to feature a 150,000-gallon rooftop infinity pool.

Bjarke Ingels, the Danish founder and creative director of BIG, said his firm’s design looks to extend the greenery that architects Le Corbusier, Wallace Harrison and Oscar Niemeyer created at the neighboring UN building.

“We continue to build on these architectural principles by uniting three city blocks to form a public green space reaching from 1st Avenue to the East River overlook, creating a green connection all the way to the water’s edge,” said Ingels in a press statement.

The two hotel towers are set to host the city’s first five-star Banyan Tree property, as well as a hotel run by casino operator Mohegan. A 150,000-gallon infinity pool will be built on the roof of the connecting skybridge, with BIG describing it as “one of the largest rooftop pools in North America.”

The 50- and 60-story residential towers, meanwhile, nod to the modernist New York City buildings of the 1950s and 1960s thanks to their striped glass and aluminum facades. Measuring 550 and 650 feet tall, the two high-rises will be connected by a podium housing a food market and retail space.

The project's two residential towers will be connected at ground level by a podium housing a food market and retail space.

The development is one of several projects competing for three casino gaming licenses recently approved for downstate New York by the state’s gaming commission. But plans have faced local opposition, with some residents and officials voicing concern about the development. Hoping to entice authorities to grant the license, the Soloviev Group has said it would designate 513, or nearly 40% of the development’s 1,325 apartments as affordable housing should the license come through.

“The revenue generated by the project’s entertainment and hospitality component will allow Freedom Plaza to deliver the affordable housing program and expansive publicly accessible green space, with many more details yet to be announced,” said Ray Pineault, CEO and President of Mohegan in a statement last year.

Americans are currently living through the toughest housing market in a generation, and New York has been one of the hardest hit locations, with rental vacancy rates down to a multi-decade low of 1.4%, according to the 2023 NYC Housing and Vacancy Survey.

The development is set to occupy a 6.7-acre plot next to the East River in Midtown Manhattan.

Soloviev Group has also promised that an unspecified percentage of the gaming profits, starting with a minimum $5 million donation, will go to an independently run non-profit community fund.

Elsewhere on the site, BIG has designed a new “Museum of Freedom and Democracy” that “celebrates the origin and evolution of one of the most impactful inventions of mankind and our continuous struggle to build, maintain and protect the institutions that uphold it,” said Ingels.

The Möbius strip-shaped building, overlooking the river, winds on top of itself creating outdoor walking paths. BIG described the design as an homage to the amphitheaters built by the Ancient Greeks, the creators of modern democracy.

Freedom Plaza will also contain public green space and a new Museum of Freedom and Democracy.

Unaffiliated with Long Island University’s Museum of Democracy, the new institution will contain pieces of the Berlin Wall and works from the Soloviev Group’s art collection.

“Our plan is to develop this site in a way that delivers benefits for the local neighborhood and the city as a whole, worthy of its skyline and waterfront location, and befitting New York City’s key role as a leader in the global cultural economy,” said Michael Hershman, CEO of the Soloviev Group, in a press release.

Groundbreaking and completion dates are yet to be announced as the developers await a decision on the project’s casino license but will likely be finished in five to seven years once building works commences.

Should the license not be granted, the project will continue, likely based on a previous design approved in 2008, said the developer.