Schenectady County

‘Topping off’ ceremony completes casino framework

The last steel beam was signed and placed atop the future Rivers Casino and Resort at Mohawk Harbor
A topping ceremony was held at the Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady on Monday April 18, 2016.
A topping ceremony was held at the Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady on Monday April 18, 2016.

The last steel beam was signed and placed atop the future Rivers Casino and Resort at Mohawk Harbor on Monday, marking another step toward a new gaming facility in Schenectady.

To date, LeChase Construction has worked about 45,000 hours on site with 100 workers daily, vice president Neil Schiavi said. The contractor has placed approximately 5,900 cubic yards of concrete and installed 1,200 tons of steel for the casino.

“Our entire team is excited to be part of this project, which is changing the landscape of central New York and especially Schenectady,” Schiavi said during the casino’s topping off ceremony on the Mohawk Harbor site Monday morning.

The next step, Schiavi said, is to complete the skin of the casino, which is expected to be done by early fall. The contractor is also moving onto the interior build-out of the casino, which is underway.

Foundations for the parking garage are about 50 percent complete, he said. The five-story garage will start to be erected in the next couple of months.

“We will also be starting the foundations for the hotel in the next few weeks,” Schiavi said. “Shortly after that will be the steel and the superstructure accordingly.”

Hundreds of construction workers — from LeChase Construction of Schenectady and Norwood Company of Malvern, Pa. — joined Schenectady officials to sign the final 60-foot steel beam before hoisting it into place near the casino’s entertainment lounge.

The casino, which will be operated by Rush Street Gaming of Chicago, was designed by Klai Juba Architects, Cleo Design and DMAC Architecture. Rush Street is also working with Development Management Associates of Chicago.

The marking of the completion of the steel structure comes after the ceremonial groundbreaking held on site on Feb. 3.

Mary Cheeks, the general manager for the Rivers Casino, said during the topping off ceremony that the casino is on schedule to open in the first quarter of 2017.

The casino’s 163-room hotel, whose brand has not yet been named, is projected to open its doors six months after the casino.

“Progress has been made and that’s because our construction partners have been out here everyday, regardless of weather, making it happen,” she said.

Cheeks said there is “still lots of work to do” including hiring about 1,200 employees for the Rivers Casino. She encouraged people to check out job opportunities online at

In addition to the casino, the Galesi Group of Rotterdam is transforming the 60-acre old Alco site with housing, hotels, office and retail buildings and a 50-boat-slip harbor.

A 124-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel is being built on the northern end of the site and will open this fall. Galesi is also erecting a 204-unit apartment building behind the hotel along the harbor.

David Buicko, CEO of Galesi, said Monday marked the start of construction of a retail and office building by the Marriott with sheet piles being driven into the ground.

The $330 million Rivers Casino will feature a 50,000-square-foot gaming floor with 1,150 slot machines, 63 table games and a poker room with 16 tables. It will also have several restaurants and a banquet facility run by the Mallozzi Group.

The casino is expected to employ 1,200. It is projected to earn $223 million in third-year gaming revenues with an estimated $4.1 million each going to the city and the county and $2 million for the Schenectady City School District.

Construction at Mohawk Harbor moves forward as the start of construction on the city’s first roundabout kicked off on Monday. The roundabout, at the intersection of Erie Boulevard and Nott Street, is positioned at the entrace of the riverfront site.

Designing the roundabout will require lane shifts and closures until the project is completed in early July.

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