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Nation’s Largest Black Real Estate Developer, Commits to "Community First" in Hiring for Project



- Team Led by R. Donahue Peebles, 


NEW YORK, – In a significant step toward reinforcing New York State’s progressive approach to economic development, the Peebles-led team vying to transform the Aqueduct Racetrack into a vibrant gaming and entertainment destination with an MGM Grand casino (, today announced a bold commitment to job creation for Queens residents and companies, as well as minority and women-owned businesses.


“The Aqueduct project has the potential to be one of the greatest economic stimulus programs ever launched in Queens,” said R. Donahue Peebles, CEO of The Peebles Corporation, the largest African-American-owned real estate development company in North America.  “To ensure that our project has real and meaningful impact upon local residents and companies, we are committed to a multi-faceted approach which will generate revenue for the state while creating thousands of jobs, boosting the local economy, and offering growth opportunities to local, small, minority and women-owned companies that deserve a shot.  As a developer with several public-private partnerships under my belt this is something that is important to me and the team.”

As part of the effort, local businesses will be prioritized for bidding to supply many of the goods and services for the construction of the anticipated $550 million mixed-use development creating New York City’s first casino gaming and entertainment destination.


The commitment means that qualified area businesses will be given the opportunity to bid for work performed by the team and those bids will be prioritized for consideration.


In addition to creating nearly 4,000 construction and permanent jobs, the Peebles team 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.


Other elements of the program include:


·         Establishing a Project Labor Agreement that achieves significant participation of qualified LBE and MWBE firms in the construction and operation of the facility with a target of 40 percent participation;

  • Creation of an Youth Academy, funded by private dollars, that introduces local youth to entrepreneurship and inspirational examples; 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.


Mr. Peebles added, “Our team is focused on the tangible results of this project and not the gamesmanship of drawings and lobbyists. We have the best operator in the business with MGM MIRAGE.  We have the best contractor for casino development with Perini Building Company.  My track record of leading public-private ventures speaks for itself.  We will get the job done and the meaningful community benefits must be an integral part of it.”


MGM Grand at Aqueduct includes 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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