didn’t just dream up minority participation. It is the way we conduct ourselves,” said Bissett of the Buffalo-based 95-year-old hospitality business. “After meeting with Cheryl McKissack and Don Peebles, I felt like the chemistry worked and they would be tremendous assets to the team.”
McKissack is the nation’s oldest African American, woman-owned professional design and construction firm, and Peebles Corp. (No. 18 on the B.E. Industrial/Service 100 list with $245 million in revenues) is the nation’s largest African American-owned real estate development company.
“We are delighted to be a part of this venture,” says Cheryl McKissack, president and CEO of the 103-year-old construction company that was founded by her grandfather, the first black licensed architect in the country. As a prime construction manager on the project, McKissack and Peebles can make certain that other minority- and women-owned contractors are included on the project.
McKissack will perform construction management services based on schedules and budgets, including cost estimating and check the collaboration between the various disciplines (electrical, mechanical, architectural, structural, plumbing, civil, and landscaping.)
Of the 2,000 new jobs that will be created during the first phase, 1,000 jobs will go toward construction and the remaining toward running the business. They hope to complete that phase of the project within 18 months of breaking ground, which is expected to take place early in 2009. Delaware North will set up an employment office and a business center during and after construction to provide jobs for the surrounding community and place local businesses into vending and contracting opportunities.
The second phase will incorporate a conference center, an entertainment/concert venue, hotel, nightclub, and more large-scale retail outlets. The construction costs for the second phase are estimated to cost between $200 and $250 million.
“I always wanted to have the opportunity to build a project in New York,” Peebles says. “The nice thing about Aqueduct [is that] it is a signature project that will have a tremendous economic impact.”