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What you need to know for 08/18/2017

Schenectady casino vision unveiled

Schenectady casino vision unveiled

Galesi Group and Rush Street Gaming unveiled Friday what their casino and resort project would look
Schenectady casino vision unveiled
A rendering of the proposed Rivers Casino & Resort at Mohawk Harbor in Schenectady.

Galesi Group and Rush Street Gaming unveiled Friday what their casino and resort project would look like off Erie Boulevard in Schenectady.

Rivers Casino & Resort at Mohawk Harbor features a casino, hotel and other amenities along the Mohawk River. Its design has a modern look, with windows overlooking the river.

The $300 million Schenectady casino proposal includes a 50,000-square-foot gaming floor with 1,150 slot machines, 66 table games and an attached 150-room hotel.

As shown in the rendering, the hotel would overlook the river, with the single-story casino behind it. An enclosed walkway would be built to connect an indoor parking garage to the hotel and casino.

Rush Street Gaming of Chicago would operate the casino. The company already runs several casinos including the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Illinois, and another Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh.

Rush Street Gaming estimates the casino would annually generate $223 million in gaming revenue, $82 million in gaming taxes and fees and $50 million in payroll, benefits and tips. The development is expected to attract 2.8 million new visitors each year and create 1,200 permanent jobs.

The casino will sit on a portion of the former Alco site, now called Mohawk Harbor, where the Galesi Group also plans another $150 million redevelopment project with a second, 124-room hotel; apartments; condominiums; townhouses; and office and retail space.

In the aerial rendering, the 304 apartments are pictured in the middle of the site in a semicircle. To the right of the apartments are condominiums and townhouses. The RPI nuclear lab will be transformed into a lighthouse.

If awarded a license, the group anticipates the casino will be up and running within 24 months. The entire Mohawk Harbor development is projected to take between three and five years.

Rush Street Gaming was a sponsor of Schenectady’s annual SummerNight Festival, held Friday evening on Jay and State streets in downtown Schenectady. The casino had its own booth, with large renderings of the project displayed on State Street in front of Johnny’s and free giveaways including beach balls and pens, both branded with the casino’s logo.

The booth also had several clipboards for local residents to sign in favor of the Schenectady casino proposal. After only two hours of the festival, the clipboards were filled with hundreds of signatures.

In the executive summary included with the casino application submitted to the state Gaming Commission on June 30, Galesi and Rush Street Gaming point to Schenectady as a distressed area and in need of an economic boost.

“The per capita income for the city of Schenectady is $19,420 and over 25,000 Schenectady County residents received some sort of aid from the county’s Public Assistance Programs in March 2014,” the executive summary reads. “It is a distressed area — the jobs alone will be transformative and will recast the future of this historic, iconic upstate New York area.”

The Gaming Commission’s Facility Location Board will choose sites for a casino by the fall. Four casino licenses will be awarded among the Capital Region, Hudson Valley and Southern Tier. Projects in Amsterdam, Cobleskill, East Greenbush and Rensselaer have also submitted applications to the Gaming Commission.

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