All three of the original bidders for the Aqueduct racino expressed interest in the project in the wake of the collapse of the Delaware North deal. But chances are that they will be more restrained in their enthu$iasm at this point in time. Delware North tersely warned that the state had made a mistake.
"A prolonged re-bid of the project would ultimately cost the state even more in terms of added delays in construction and a missed opportunity to capitalize on a phased opening as contemplated by law without the assurance of a larger payment than Delaware North has offered." [Bloodhorse]In a press release, SL Green, one of the losing bidders, said:
"We were fully capitalized and, if we had been given the go-ahead when originally scheduled, the VLT facility would already be up and running today and delivering revenue to the state."That would mean that the racino would have been completed within five months; a highly dubious assertion which casts doubt on the veracity of the statement, including the 'we were fully capitalized' claim. Doesn't mean they would be now even if they were. Though the company said that their original proposal was "superior to the others," they plainly declined to commit to the same.
“We are still interested in developing the Aqueduct project and we look forward to seeing what the state has in mind if the project is to be re-bid." [Bloodhorse]Mohegan Sun also expressed vague interest.
"We are confident that a Mohegan Sun managed facility will create much needed jobs and revenue for the Queens community, and we can develop Aqueduct as a world-class entertainment destination, generating millions of tax dollars for the State of New York." [DRF]Karl O'Farrell of Mohegan Sun's partner Capital Play apparently didn't get the memo and was far more specific, saying that his group can meet its bid terms — $100 million up front and $400 million to build the facility. [Albany Times-Union]
Charles Hayward told David Grening of the Form that NYRA has $26 million of the $30 million it was given by the state as part of the new franchise agreement that went into effect last fall, and that "I think we'll be fine through the third quarter of next year."
Governor Paterson said that he wanted to make the decision last July, but political squabbles delayed that. But taking a look at my archives for that month, as late as July 21, Paterson said: "We now started to discuss a process by which we pick a winner." On July 24, a Paterson spokesman said "I wouldn't put a timetable on it." So this seems to me like another case of the governor not being forthcoming on this particular issue. At least Paterson didn't back down against the renegotiating demands of Delaware North, though fear of legal action by the losing bidders likely provided motivation for that.
I'm not even going to begin to try and guess what's going to happen now. Paterson and Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith promised a quick process, but how seriously are we possibly expected to take that?