Resorts World offers sneak peek at new Aqueduct
by Lisa A. Fraser
Sep 20, 2011 | 2316 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

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Members of the press received a sneak peek on Tuesday of one of the new, almost-complete casino event spaces that will make up the overall Resorts World Casino at the Aqueduct racetrack in South Ozone Park.

The Times Square Casino, located on the first floor of the facility, will open to the public at the end of October, although there is no official date as of yet.

Michael Speller, president of Resorts World New York, walked members of the press through the construction area of the Times Square casino as well as the second level, where another casino event space, Fifth Avenue Casino, will be located.

“Now we are well, well down the road to completion,” said Speller, as he stood and spoke amid the noise of construction workers putting the finishing touches on the space.

At 190,000 square feet, the Times Square Casino space is modeled and built to emulate the Times Square experience in New York City and will feature 2,280 Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) and 210 Electronic Table Games (ETGs), including Roulette and Craps.

“It will be a very vibrant space, full of energy; we will have a lot of activity on this floor,” Speller said.

Located in the center of the Times Square Casino is Bar 360 Lounge, a signature circular bar with a raised stage that can seat around 240 customers. This space will feature a 28 x 18-foot television that will be able to slide between the two floors and casinos, presenting an opportunity for patrons to watch the games. The space is also built to accommodate musical acts, comedy acts and other forms of entertainment.

There will also be an outdoor deck where customers can sit and watch the races.

The floor will house a food court with seven outlets that will seat approximately 330 people. The outlets include: Wolfgang Puck Express, Fiesta, Cups 'n' Cones, Popeye's Chicken, Stage Deli, as well as an Aqueduct Buffet, named to honor the rich history of the racetrack, and serving everything from seafood to pasta and vegetarian specialties.

The eating area will have a separate entrance for those who don't want to use the casino.

“When we designed the property overall, we designed access into this space from the front entrance without ever having to walk through the casino, so if a family wants to come in, they can bypass the casino and come into the food court and buffet,” Speller said.

To fill the entire facility with audio and video, Speller said that the company spent upwards of $5 million.

“That gives you a sense of how much time and effort we're putting in to make this a very vibrant, active space,” he said.

Outside of the building, a 17,000-square-foot space called Festival Commons will accommodate outdoor parties, festivals and community events.

“It's a a great opportunity for the community to use,” Speller said.

So far, the electronic system and the surveillance system are in place and the ticket tape, like the one in Times Square will be installed within the next couple of weeks, Speller said.

The parking lot, which has 2,500 parking spaces with six levels, is completely finished. It can be accessed through either end of the property – the Rockaway Boulevard entrance or the North Conduit entrance.

Speller also reiterated that the company is working on redesigning the North Conduit-Aqueduct A Train station and on building a Skybridge that will extend straight to the facility and attract additional traffic from those coming into and leaving from JFK Airport.

Speller also unveiled the 160,00-square-foot Fifth Avenue Casino on the second floor, which will house 2,280 VLTs, 275 ETGs and feature exclusive gaming for VIP members. The second floor will also house the RW Prime Steak and Seafood Restaurant, which seats 250 people while offering private dining, and Genting Palace, their signature gourmet Cantonese restaurant which can seat up to 300 patrons.

Speller noted that the original plan was to open the casino in three stages over an 18-month period. But certain issues arose: lead and asbestos had to be removed as well as pigeon droppings. RWNY took the setbacks as an opportunity and the opening was reduced to a 12-month, two stage opening.

The Fifth Avenue Casino will open in the middle of December along with the third level Central Park Casino and the rest of the facility, making the new casino officially open by the year's end.

Currently, 1,400 construction workers on site in two ten-hour shifts to get the job done.

Speller noted that there are 200 personnel on staff and by the end of October a total of 1,350 operational employees will be working when the Times Square Casino opens.

Speller also noted that over 3,500 people applied at the casino and 70 percent of the jobs will go to those in the borough of Queens.
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