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[IMGCAP(1)]NEW YORK CITY-Locally based SL Green Realty Corp.’s proposal to revitalize the Aqueduct Racetrack here has gained endorsement from local labor unions. The firm plans more than $400 million in capital improvements at Aqueduct during the initial phase and more than $2 billion over the life of the project.

The plan also ensures the maximum revenue for the State of New York, proposing $250 million up front, plus $130 million in additional construction expenditures–on top of the state’s $250 million–to ensure the best possible facility at Aqueduct. Added to that is the guaranteed $106 million in ongoing capital improvements to the facility over the franchise term. In addition, SL Green’s proposal includes a proprietary $28.5-million upstate equine economic development program to support and encourage growth in New York’s horse racing industry.

[IMGCAP(2)]As GlobeSt.com previously reported, the redevelopment plan includes working with the Hard Rock brand, which will help develop and operate a fully integrated entertainment complex–with racing, gaming, restaurants, retail and hotels. The plan is intended to create approximately 600 full-time union construction jobs and 575 full-time union operations jobs in the initial phase alone, and hundreds of more jobs are anticipated in future spin-off employment spurred by the Aqueduct development.

Unions supporting SL Green’s bid include: the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York; the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council; Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union; Local Union No. 3 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local Union No. 94; the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local Union No. 30; and the Sheet Metal Workers International Association, Local No. 28, Metropolitan New York and Long Island. When contacted, an SL Green spokesperson tells GlobeSt.com that they “can’t yet discuss publicly beyond current disclosures.”

“SL Green has always ensured that the construction at its buildings is done by union labor and by contractors which respect and work together with the construction trades unions to provide the highest quality work,” says Michael Belluzzi, president and business manager of the Sheet Metal Workers International Association, in a prepared release. “We know that SL Green’s selection will ensure that the VLT facility is constructed in the most efficient and effective manner, while at the same time benefiting the men and women who perform union trades’ work in New York City.”

Marc Holliday, CEO of SL Green, says in a statement that “our commitment to organized labor is unparalleled and we look forward to the opportunity to apply this commitment and our principles in bringing a world-class destination to Aqueduct.” SL Green’s proposed redevelopment plan for Aqueduct is currently before state leaders.

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