Aqueduct bidders mull over request for $200M upfront

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Bidders on the Aqueduct racetrack in Ozone Park, Queens, will have to prove their ability to pay the state $200 million within 30 days of winning the redevelopment rights to the project, Governor Paterson wrote in a letter to the companies on Friday. The request is likely to pare down the list of six bidders, which includes SL Green, MGM Mirage and Penn National Gaming, because most would need to revise their original project plans in order to comply with the request. SL Green has offered $275 million for the Aqueduct, but only $125 million would be paid upfront. Providing more money from the get-go would allow the governor to follow through on his plans to reduce the budget deficit by $5 billion, while ensuring that the winning bidder does not back out. Last year, Delaware North won the rights to the Aqueduct project but could not come up with enough cash. The group is again vying for the winning bid. Bidders have until Nov. 6 to reply to Paterson’s letter. Paterson, along with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and temporary Senate President Malcolm Smith, will ultimately select the winner. [Crain’s]

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