ROTTERDAM – A Scotia organization is looking to take over a portion of the old K Mart building in the Rotterdam ViaPort and turn it into a bingo hall four nights a week to provide a space to three organizations looking to raise funds.
The Beukendaal Temple Association will lease 21,216 square feet of the approximately 90,000-square-foot facility from March 16, 2022 to March 15, 2024.
The Rotterdam Planning Commission approved waiving a site plan review for the project.
The association will lease the space from the ViaPort in order to allow three organizations – Cyprus Shriners Club, Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons and Schenectady Baseball – to host games for up to 200 people.
“This operation simply finds a home for the old bingo palace,” said Rick Frederick, the president of the association.
Frederick said the Schenectady Bingo Palace at 1866 State St. closed during the pandemic and then the building was sold.
He said those organizations have only verbally committed so far.
Frederick declined to say how much the organization would be paying to lease the space. The bingo hall would have an entrance near the 99 restaurant and operate from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. The organizations would sponsor a night and then part of the proceeds go to the organization.
This project is in the early stages, he said. The association must first go through the Planning Commission and then Building Department to square away details about items like specifying the number of enough exits before applying for a license to have bingo.
“There’s fairly significant state regulations that apply to bingo operations that I won’t get into detail on but I’ll put it this way – the state has a very tight control over gambling in the state,” said town attorney Jonathon Tingley. “It’s a state business usually to gamble, so usually whenever anybody else is doing the gambling even in the case of bingo they want to make sure there’s control over that, regulation, inspection, things of that nature.”
Tingley said the waiver for the site plan does not grant the association approval to begin operations, just that they can use the space.
“We understand that this is a long process,” Frederick said.
The organization is trying to move quickly in the process and open the hall by the summer, he said.
“We’re hoping to be a great partner in the mall,” Frederick said. “They already have food vendors and restaurants, so hopefully we’ll bring folks in to help the mall a bit.”
Commission member Lynn Flansburg said she was excited about the project.
“I know there were a lot of people that were using that place (Schenectady Bingo Palace) and there’s not many facilities to go to,” Flansburg said.
Only about 20,000 square feet of available space would remain at the mall if the association is successful in its leasing plan.The town of Rotterdam signed a 10-year lease agreement in 2021 to use 50,000 square feet for new town facilities.
While the prior administration approved a $1 million security deposit for the space the new administration has not moved into the building yet. Rather, Deputy Supervisor Jack Dodson said they are still awaiting information from engineering firm Barton & Loguidice before continuing further. No payments need to be made in the meantime, Dodson said, noting that only once town offices are moved into the building will they need to begin paying monthly.
Dodson said he expects to have more information toward the end of April about the feasibility of moving to the ViaPort or staying in town hall so that the new board can weigh the pros and cons.
ViaPort General Manager Terri Edmond said that both the town offices and the bingo hall would make good additions.
“We believe both will be a great alliance and increase the foot traffic for the mall,” she said.
Reporter Shenandoah Briere can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on twitter at SB_DailyGazette.