SL Green Aqueduct Plan Includes $28M for Upstate Programs

SL Green Realty Corp’s bid to develop Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, N.Y., will include a $28.5 million Equine Development Plan. The plan, which has won the support of upstate New York agricultural leaders, is part of SL Green’s efforts to revitalize the raceway in Queens. The plan will create jobs by linking the gaming and developing franchises at Aqueduct with various farming programs statewide, and also aims to share the proceeds derived from raceway operations with upstate communities. The plan, which Assembly Agriculture Committee Chairman William Magee has endorsed, will disburse the $28.5 million over the initial term of the video lottery. The money will benefit programs such as the Equine Assisted Activity and Therapy Foundation and the NYS Farm Bureau Equine Development Programs. “We believe horse racing and gaming are assets to the entire state and that the entire state should benefit,” SL Green CEO Marc Holliday stated in a release. Ray Cross, Morrisville State College president, wrote in a letter to New York Governor Paterson, Senator Majority Leader Bruno and Assembly Speaker, that his college enthusiastically supported the plan, as it “supports these Upstate development efforts and ways… to link the developments and improvements on the tracks to the development and growth of the total equine industry.” SL Green has teamed up with Hard Rock International on developing a plan to revitalize the Aqueduct Raceway by developing both racing and gaming facilities on site. The plan includes the addition of approximately 4,500 video lottery terminals and a Hard Rock hotel with restaurants, retail stores and an entertainment venue. As reported by CPN, the plan has the backing of city unions, due to the nearly 1,200 jobs it will provide in the construction phase.Two other groups, Delaware North Cos. and Capital Play Inc., are also vying for the right to run video lottery terminals at Aqueduct.