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NAACP Leader Endorses NY Aquaduct Project Redevelopment Team


- Hazel Dukes Urges Albany Leaders to Designate

Peebles-led Team to Redevelop Raceway -


NEW YORK, – MGM Grand at Aqueduct (, the Peebles-led proposal to develop New York City's first legalized gaming facility, today received the emphatic endorsement of NYS NAACP President Hazel Dukes.


In a letter to State leadership and decision makers who will be designating a team for the project -- Ms Dukes said, "The redevelopment of Aqueduct presents an opportunity to jump start the economic recovery of Ozone Park and beyond.  It also offers a rare and transformational opportunity to designate a team lead by an African American.  In the history of New York State, it would be difficult to recall any significant partnership with a private entity led by an African American.  In a season of change, this is a disheartening legacy which must be undone. ”


Ms. Dukes said, “For more than a decade and a half, the private sector has been savvy enough to ensure the inclusion of MWBE participation when bidding for public-private partnerships with government.  Never before has a team headed by an African American stepped forward with such a strong proposal and impressive credentials as is now the case with Peebles’ bid to build MGM Grand at Aqueduct.  It would be, and should be, the first time the State of New York has selected a team headed by an African American for a public-private partnership.”


R. Donahue Peebles – the nation’s most accomplished African American real estate developer – is leading the effort to build MGM Grand at Aqueduct.  The team also includes MGM MIRAGE, the world’s most-accomplished gaming operator and original planner of the Aqueduct redevelopment as operator of the facility, Perini Building Company, a leading national contractor for gaming construction, Harbinger Capital Partners, the New York-based investment fund with over $6 billion under management, and GlobalHue, an experienced casino marketing firm and the largest minority-owned advertising firm in the US.


“The MGM Grand at Aqueduct will be one of New York’s finest entertainment destinations and will be made possible through the collaboration of a world-class team as diverse as Queens,” said Mr. Peebles.  “We very much appreciate Ms. Duke’s support and her recognition that we have the best proposal while offering an opportunity for New York State to reinforce the value of diversity at all levels with ownership and principal involvement being the pinnacle.  This is what our team proudly represents.”


Last month Peebles announced the innovative “Community First” initiative; a bold commitment to job creation for minority and women-owned businesses as well as Queens’ residents and small businesses.  The multi-faceted initiative is expected to create thousands of jobs, boost the local economy, and offer growth opportunities to local, small, minority and women-owned companies that deserve opportunity.  Elements of the plan include priority consideration to local businesses for bidding to supply many of the goods and services for construction of the $550 million mixed-use development; establish a project labor agreement that achieves significant participation of qualified LBE and MWBE firms in the construction and operation of the facility with an aggressive target of 40 percent participation; creation of a youth academy, funded by private dollars, which introduces our future generation to entrepreneurship and inspirational role models; and endow a small business development center, funded by private dollars, to nurture the growth of small, local businesses and provide direct access to project bids on an ongoing basis.


In addition to creating an estimated 4,000 construction and permanent jobs, MGM Grand at Aqueduct will produce approximately $17 billion in revenue for the State of New York and $5 billion for support of the horse racing industry over the initial 30 years.


The MGM Grand at Aqueduct complex will ultimately include a gaming facility with 4,500 video lottery terminals, an upscale, full-service hotel, a business conference center, an event center and dining facilities at various price points, all of which will be available to the community.



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