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HORSE RACE: AEG has history in Las Vegas, Queens

From a gaming company to developers and construction firms, eight entities make up Aqueduct Entertainment Group, which was selected to install and operate 4,500 video lottery terminals and redevelop Aqueduct Race Track in Ozone Park.

AEG’s gaming component is The Navegante Group, a Las Vegas-based company headed by Larry Woolf, the former chairman, CEO and president of MGM Grand Hotels in Las Vegas.

From 1990-95, Woolf oversaw the design, construction and operation of the 5,000-room MGM Grand hotel on the Vegas strip, which was then the largest hotel in the world. It was the first casino that cost more than $1 billion to develop.

Navegante currently owns five U.S. casinos, including four in Elko, Nev., and another in Carson City, Nev.

Also part of AEG is Douglaston-based Levine Builders, which was founded in 1979 and has constructed, renovated and rehabilitated thousands of residential units and millions of square feet of commercial space.

Levine Builders has developed luxury high-rise residential housing, hotels, affordable housing, assisted living facilities, retail and mixed-use developments.

The other partner in AEG with Queens connections is the Rev. Floyd Flake’s Empowerment Development Corp., which the Allen A.M.E. minister created to pursue private community development initiatives.

AEG said Flake’s company was responsible for developing 1,300 units of housing and commercial and institutional projects in Queens. Flake’s projects represent more than $150 million in completed developments.

Andrew Frank, an AEG spokesman, said Empowerment Development Corp. has a 0.06 percent stake in AEG. He said he was not disclosing the stakes of the other companies and only chose to make Flake’s company’s stake public because of the scrutiny surrounding the former congressman’s involvement in the bid.

Manhattan-based GreenStar Services Corp. is also a partner in the AEG bid. The corporation is involved in both public and private construction, worked on building Citi Field in Flushing and was selected to perform about $350 million in electrical and plumbing work for the Freedom Tower.

New York-based Turner Construction Co., founded in 1902, is also part of the consortium. One of the largest U.S. builders, it constructed the United Nations Secretariat, Lincoln Center and the current Madison Square Garden.

Turner was also part of a group that was awarded a $656 million contract by the city Department of Design and Construction to build the new police academy in College Point.

New Jersey-based PS&S Design signed on to AEG to provide architectural, engineering and environmental consulting services for the VLT contract.

Siemens, based in Manhattan, is working on electronics and electrical engineering for AEG.

Rounding out the team is Canadian-based merchant bank Clairvest Group Inc.

The bank has been investing in gaming operations since 2000 and has been a shareholder in casinos in Canada and Chile.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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