Here's a link, courtesy of the Albany Times-Union's Capitol Confidential, to the full final report of the Belmont Park Redevelopment Study. [WARNING: Large, slow-loading PDF file] The conclusion of the report, calling for slots, a hotel and retail, is no surprise of course.....though the senior housing thing caught me a bit off guard. It spells out, with a great amount of thought and detail, various options for the site - standalone racino, small or large hotel with racino, or a hotel with the racino in the grandstand. I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be the latter, what with all the empty and wasted space there.
It's a nice report with a lot of color pictures, charts and diagrams; but it pretty much ignores one pretty critical element. The final section, titled Next Steps, calls for an Economic Impact Analysis, a Gaming Analysis, and an Implementation Process, including the always-hilarious Request For Proposals (RFP). However, though it notes, almost in passing, that "The Governor has recently introduced a bill that would provide for VLT gaming at Belmont Park Racetrack," it glosses over the fact that the state's tax law specifically prohibits VLT's at racetracks of the non-profit racing association known as Belmont Park racetrack and the Saratoga thoroughbred racetrack...and that the sitting Assembly Speaker, Sheldon Silver, is adamantly opposed to allowing them there. There should be a whole section, if not an entire new report, devoted to how to get such a bill passed!
James Odato reiterated in his piece in the Times Union that the issue of Delaware North wanting a higher cut at their Aqueduct racino should Belmont come to fruition is a key sticking point in the negotiations with the state.
Legislation would have to be passed to alter the VLT rates to benefit Delaware North — and the company isn't planning to give the state its $370 million up-front payment for rights to operate at Aqueduct until such legislation is in place, according to company officials.Sounds like Delaware North is counting on that deadline to force the Governor's hand. But if some of the terms we've recently seen used to describe his administration - "bewildered," "confused," "frustrated," and "unable to provide simple, consistent answers" - are true, Delaware North shouldn't count on him even remembering that date.
Because Paterson is planning to receive that $370 million by March 31, the legislation is critical in the next few weeks, Delaware North says.
Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos expressed reservations that the report delivered only "very general recommendations'' about Belmont that could take another year to develop into specifics. [Bloodhorse] But actually, compared to what's been going on (or not) at Aqueduct, that would be quite a bit of progress. A racino at Belmont, as logical as it's always seemed to me, is in reality just theoretical at this point; the Aqueduct racino, or at least the concept of one, is theoretically a reality, and look how long that's taking! We could be into the second Obama administration before we see one at either.