The bidding to redevelop Aqueduct racetrack into a “racino” has entered yet another round: Gov. David Paterson sent a letter late Friday to the six bidders asking each to provide proof it can pay the state $200 million upfront within 30 days of being selected.
The request would mean a revision of most of the bidders' original plans to revive the rundown racetrack by installing video slot machines at the site in Ozone Park, Queens.
Only one of the half dozen bidders—Penn National Gaming—had proposed to pay the state $200 million upfront. Other bidder groups, such as one headed by Manhattan's largest landlord, SL Green, and another by casino magnate Steve Wynn, ponied up $125 million and $100 million upfront, respectively, with more money as the project progressed.
Sources say the latest request—the second change in the rules in less than three months—will likely winnow down the list of potential bidders in the race.
Bidders have until Friday, Nov. 6 to reply to the letter. Mr. Paterson's office did not comment immediately.
From The Real Deal:
The fight to win the bid for the Aqueduct Racetrack in Ozone Park, Queens, just lost one contender. Las Vegas casino tycoon Steve Wynn has dropped out of the race, with no clear motive. With just two weeks to go before Governor David Paterson, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and State Democratic conference leader John Sampson are expected to announce a winning developer for the project, Penn National Gaming and SL Green are now named as the two top contenders for the job, Crain's reported. Only last week Paterson notified bidders that they would need to provide proof that they are able to pay $200 million to the state upfront. Although Wynn Resorts had endured a brutal third quarter, Wynn's bid of $300 million had been the highest of all the project teams.