Rush Street Gaming CEO Greg Carlin says the street name for the future Schenectady casino “must be about the future of the site and not the past.”
In a letter to the City Council on Monday, Carlin defended the operator’s proposed street names at Mohawk Harbor — Rush Street, Harborside Drive and Mohawk Harbor Way — saying they “reflect well on the entire waterfront development.”
“It is ultimately the city’s decision on what to name Schenectady’s streets, but we hope that the final decision will take into consideration our company’s desire to make Schenectady an entertainment destination worthy of the name Rush Street,” the letter signed by Carlin says.
Rush Street Gaming of Chicago will be the operator of the future $330 million Rivers Casino and Resort at Mohawk Harbor, which is being built now on the 60-acre brownfield along the Mohawk River.
The letter to the council comes after Council President Leesa Perazzo opted to call for a public hearing on the street names before the council makes a decision.
During the council meeting Monday evening, council members unanimously agreed to hold the public hearing during their next meeting on March 14.
The council is considering adopting a resolution in support of the proposed names since the roads are not yet built. The council will later have to pass an ordinance naming the roads once they’re established.
An ordinance requires a public hearing while a resolution does not. On Thursday, Perazzo said she would like to have a public hearing before the council adopts a resolution supporting the names.
Another public hearing would still be required once the roads are built and before the council votes on an ordinance. The roads on site are expected to be done by the fall.
The Galesi Group of Rotterdam is looking to have a consensus on the names now so the developer could start marketing future buildings on the site, like the Courtyard by Marriott hotel, which is being constructed now.
During a council committee meeting last Tuesday, council members Marion Porterfield and Vince Riggi expressed concerns about the name “Rush Street,” saying they don’t believe the street should be named after the casino operator.
In the letter, Carlin said the street name is not after the operator but after a “Rush Street” in Chicago. That was not made clear to the council last Tuesday.
Carlin said the company Rush Street Gaming is actually named after Rush Street in the Windy City.
“Rush Street in Chicago is a renowned entertainment destination,” the letter says. “It sits just one block west of the ‘Magnificent Mile,’ an internationally known shopping district. Some of the finest dining and nightlife options in the city of Chicago are on Rush Street. I can tell you the atmosphere on this mile-long thoroughfare is electric. We want to bring that same excitement and success to the Electric City.”
Riggi said even if the proposed street is named after a street in Chicago it’s still the name of the casino operator. He described the name as “pretentious.”
Riggi suggested naming a street — or two or three — after the American Locomotive Co., which worked on the site until 1969 and was once one of Schenectady’s biggest employers and manufacturers.
In the letter, Carlin said other names were considered, like River Road, which is already taken as the address of General Electric and a street in Niskayuna. Also originally considered was Casino Drive.
“We looked at using Casino Drive but that has been used many times in this industry including at our facility in Pittsburgh,” Carlin said. “We put forward Rush Street not for selfish reasons, but for the same reason we picked our company’s name: the excitement and reputation associated with Rush Street.”
The Rivers Casino is expected to be open by March of next year, according to Carlin. Galesi is also developing the Mohawk Harbor site with housing, hotels, office and retail buildings and a 50-boat-slip harbor.