News Roundup

Hard Rock International announced a strategic alliance with entrepreneur Robert L.  Johnson, and also said that Caribbean CAGE L.L.C., which is owned by RLJ Companies, will become an investor in the Hard Rock Casino at Aqueduct Racetrack project being proposed by SL Green Realty Corp. and Hard Rock.

The Queens, New York casino will house more than 4,500 gaming slots, a performance center, bar, retail shops, and food court. The proposal is currently under review by the State of New York. If approved, the plan is expected to generate more than $525 million in revenue for the state annually.

“This is a great opportunity to partner with Hard Rock — one of the world’s most recognized brands,” said Johnson, who co-founded Caribbean CAGE in 2004 in an effort to bring video lottery terminals to Latin America and the Caribbean. Johnson also founded RLJ Development L.L.C. (No. 8 on the BE Industrial/Service list with $605.2 million in revenue).

Fellow B.E. 100s titan, R. Don Peebles, chief executive of Peebles Development Corp., (No. 79 on the B.E. Industrial/Service 100 list with $51.4 million in revenues), faced a setback in May as development plans for the racetrack/casino stalled when, it’s partner, Delaware North Cos. couldn’t raise the $370 million necessary to get the project started. Delaware North plans to resubmit a new bid.

“Overall, there is a real excitement in the community and the city at large for our plan and there is no question that it is far superior to other bids that the state is considering,” said SL Green CEO Marc Holliday.

— Renita Burns