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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Del North Plan Gets Bigger

- Delaware North hopes to take their case directly to Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. (Skeptical Skelos, I was going to write, but it's a bit too cutesy for my taste). No doubt in reaction to the reaction to its selection, Delaware North says that its plans are more ambitious than people think. That's probably because those extra ambitions are not spelled out in their proposal.

Delaware North officials said Monday that while the company submitted no additional plans, it intends to ultimately build a "world-class, four-star conference center and hotel facility."

In June, the firm hired The Peebles Corp., said to be the country's largest African-American real estate development company specializing in urban redevelopment.

Chairman and CEO Donahue Peebles said he is designing plans that would include a 3,000-seat theater for concerts and boxing. There would also be a 60,000-square-foot conference and meeting facility with a ballroom, a 5,000-square-foot spa and a 2,000-space garage.

In addition, Peebles said, there would be 15,000 square feet of "boutique retail" along the entrance to the racino - with more once the hotel is built. [NY Daily News]
This is a far cry from their original announcement last spring, when nothing more than a "large parking deck" was in the plans. The article linked to above claims that some 20,000 people are expected to visit the racino daily; and it's not an exaggeration to point out that that's around ten times a normal weekday racing crowd. Hope they're saving some space for the flea market.

- Seems as if Delaware North was merely following instructions. Looking back at an account of the submission of the bids last May, company president William Bissett told the Times Union that state officials encouraged Delaware North to focus on the up-front fee, rather than long-term return. There's some forward-thinking for you. Delaware North must have been either the only company who listened, or the only one who got that advice.


Anonymous said...

Just saw the DelNorth piece in the Daily News. That rendering is never what they intended to build when discusssing their bid submission. What a scam! Don Peebles, a great urban developer, he does hotel/condominium conversions in Miami, FL for crying out loud. How could he get into this deal at the last moment when evry other particpant had to be fully vetted? Same stink, different day in New York......

(Just posted this in the old paterson/Skelos string.)

i think Bissett was the only bidder given the "up-front focus" clue at the time. What an injustice this would be to those that played by state contract procurement rules during the VLT selection process if the DelNorth decision sticks.

Anonymous said...

In honor of Big Brown....

New York to bar steroid use in race horses
October 14, 2008 at 4:57 pm by James M. Odato
New York Racing & Wagering Board Chairman John Sabini today announced that the state is about to create new rules that will ban steroids in standardbred and thoroughbred horses raced on New York tracks.
The new rules will permit restricted use of four steriods and ban all others.

Anonymous said...

NY gets no credit here for essentially being the last one in to abolish steroids. NY, if it was serious about integrity in racing, should have been the first. Sorry Mr. Sabini, try another item to reassure the betting public that NY is above board.

Anonymous said...

Link to lengthy piece on Peebles from Miami. How did he end up in Queens?

Anonymous said...

Peebles is a major Obama fundraiser and bundler, among his many endeavors.
This whole vetting process in NY is tainted by the sudden changes/additions to DelNorth's proposal, especially when the other participants played by the original rules and DelNorth clearly didn't. Who got inside info on the sly? Oh wait, Peebles is a developer; no wait, he's an interior designer; no wait, he's a campaign organizer.
Come on. NY politics as usual. Follow the money and the stench.

Anonymous said...

I certainly hope Skelos isn't persuaded to say yes to DelNorth at Aqueduct in order to get a gaming parlor at Belmont Park in his district. Belmont VLT's are the dream of the old Excelsior team: Mulrow, Powers, Fields, Wynn, Bilinski, Vornado Realty, Related Companies, of course started by former NYRA Trustee Steinbrenner. If Shelly's pal Lynch gets her way at Aqueduct, he may roll over and give Belmont his approval. Of course she also represents Vornado and Related, so perhaps she and not the taxpayers, or the schools, or racing is the ultimate winner.

Anonymous said...

Skelos, in Buffalo, visits Delaware North
October 14, 2008 at 5:13 pm by James M. Odato
Republican leader Dean Skelos met with Delaware North officials for about 45 minutes today in Buffalo as the company attempts to get him to join Gov. David Paterson and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and endorse its team for the running and construction of a video lottery terminal racino at Aqueduct Raceway.
The senate majority leader from Rockville Centre has stated that he’s unconvinced that Delaware North is the best among three bidders that have been competing for the rights to operate the proposed Queens facility.
Along with Delaware North President William Bissett, the meeting included other team members: lobbyist Patricia Lynch and prominent African American developer Don Peebles, who was brought in for his design concepts

Anonymous said...

They better get any future development plans in writing, and guaranteed Del North will not build anything without taxpayer funding.

Ask any Finger Lakes horseman about their promises.

Anonymous said...

Article this morning describes the muni-bond market as "dried up" and on hold. This would mean that any bidder for Aqueduct would need to raise its own capital to build the VLT parlor, unless the state of NY just writes a check for the $250 million in construction costs.

Anonymous said...

This is copy of e-mail sent to NYRA custome relations regarding their new admissions/parking fees for upcoming fall meet at Aqueduct.....
Your new admission policy, coupled with program increases, punishes the season pass holder, who, in effect, is paying more for admission since program costs will be increased once again, by 3 dollars over last year [if buying both track/simulcast programs]. Due to personal/medical problems, I haven't recouped the cost for my pass this year...and won't now that the new Aqueduct policy goes into effect...don't drive, so that doesn't effect cost.
It is not the cost that concerns me...considering my considerable annual loses, but the attitude of NYRA towards the 'core' fan, the base 1000 plus that assures daily attendance figures are at least respectable and who have continued to enthusiastically patronize the sport despite other outlets. This base, and their family/friends, is aging and soon may be lost....this is evident by looking at attendance data during the routine circuit days, to further erode and disillusion this base is counter-productive fiscally and almost immoral to the individual.