Schenectady County

Schenectady casino gets design overhaul

Rush Street Gaming has unveiled a new design for its Rivers Casino in Schenectady that aims to compl
Two renderings of the Rivers Casino and Resort at Mohawk Harbor, one from August 2014 and the second from June 2015.
Two renderings of the Rivers Casino and Resort at Mohawk Harbor, one from August 2014 and the second from June 2015.

Rush Street Gaming has unveiled a new design for its Rivers Casino in Schenectady that aims to complement the city’s industrial history.

The Rivers Casino and Resort at Mohawk Harbor will be 150,000 square feet with a 185-room hotel featuring a total of 14,929 square feet of signage, including one sign reaching 80 feet high atop a pylon.

Rush Street of Chicago is seeking site plan approval for one of the state’s first commercial casinos during the city Planning Commission’s next meeting June 17. The casino will be built on the old Alco site, now called Mohawk Harbor, off Erie Boulevard along the Mohawk River.

The casino’s design has changed from what was depicted in previous renderings. The operator decided to make the building less modern and complement the site’s past as the previous home of a locomotive manufacturer.

“Our team has been working diligently to finalize the plans for the new Rivers Casino,” Rush Street CEO Greg Carlin said. “I am confident the new layout, design and finish will make this a premier gaming facility.”

Instead of a white-colored building, the casino will be made of brown bricks with a large red sign reading “Rivers Casino.” The casino will also have metal panels, canopy ceilings and large windows.

“We’ve arrived at a design to complement the city of Schenectady and the Capital Region,” Carlin said. “We’re very proud of this vision, and we are looking forward to starting construction.”

The casino will also have a freestanding pylon sign at the entrance to the site — at Erie Boulevard and Nott Street — that will be 80 feet tall with a 32-foot digital display.

Under zoning for the site, Rush Street is permitted a total of 19,000 square feet of signage and pylon signs up to 80 feet tall. Buildings can be up to 110 feet tall and must be at least 40 feet from the river.

According to documents submitted with the city’s Department of Development, the casino will be 72 feet tall, cover about 18 percent of the 60-acre site and be set 71 feet from the river.

The casino, which is on the south end of the site, by Front Street, will have a total of 1,744 parking spaces in several surface lots and a five-story parking garage connected to the casino.

There will be ornamental planting around the casino building, along with planted islands and trees around the surface parking lots and flower beds by the river along the bike path and pedestrian walkway.

A 109,000-square-foot hotel next to the casino, which has not yet been identified by brand, will have 185 rooms. The site will also have a 124-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel.

The hotel next to the casino will have a courtyard, patio area and seating areas facing the Mohawk River. The 50-slip harbor would be north of the casino and hotel.

Rush Street has yet to receive a casino license from the state Gaming Commission, but will by the end of the year, according to Gaming Commission spokesman Lee Park.

The Planning Commission will review the design and layout of the casino and hotel during its meeting at 6:30 p.m. June 17 in Room 110 of City Hall. City Planner Christine Primiano said the commission might not approve the plans until its following meeting in July.

The commission has the power to review only minor details of the plan, such as the appearance of signs, landscaping and aspects of the building’s design.

Rotterdam developer the Galesi Group is also seeking site plan approval during the June 17 meeting for townhouses and office and retail space at the site. A 60,000-sqaure-foot building on the northern end of the site will contain 20,000 square feet of retail space and 40,000 square feet of office space. Parking will be both on the surface and underground.

A townhouse building with 24 units will also be built at the northern end of the site, next to a condominium building fronting the river. Parking for residents will be underground.

The Planning Commission previously approved plans for a 295,000-square-foot building with 191 apartment units and retail on the first floor and a 100,000-square-foot condominium building with 50 units.

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