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Queens Chronicle

Pigeon poop pushes back casino opening

More asbestos at site than expected

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Posted: Thursday, August 18, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 12:32 pm, Thu Aug 25, 2011.

Watch where you step.

A storm of pigeon waste, as well as the need to remove lead paint and asbestos, has caused the opening of the casino at the Aqueduct Race Track in South Ozone Park to be pushed back to October, according to an official with knowledge of the situation.

“The lead paint, asbestos and bird poop were in a state we weren’t anticipating,” the official said.

Originally, Resorts World New York City, the group that will run the city’s first casino at Aqueduct, had expected to open the entertainment facility in the spring. That was moved back to the end of summer, and, after Genting spent more than $15 million to remove lead paint, asbestos and bird droppings, the company is expected to open the doors to the casino sometime in October, though there is no set date yet.

“I was in that building a number of years ago — pigeon droppings are a very big reality,” said Community Board 10 Chairwoman Betty Braton. “That’s a tongue-in-cheek way of saying it’s an old building.”

However, more problematic than the pigeon waste was the asbestos, Braton and the official said.

“They ran into considerable additional asbestos removal,” Braton said.

Once it opens, the casino will include 2,500 video lottery terminals — about 900 more than the company had originally anticipated. Ultimately, the casino will include about 4,525 VLTs, fine dining restaurants and a bar with views of the facility’s entertainment space.

It is expected to generate $300 million in annual state revenue and will employ about 1,300 people full time.

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