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What you need to know for 03/28/2017

Pylon sign plan killed at Mohawk Harbor

Pylon sign plan killed at Mohawk Harbor

Rush Street Gaming has dumped the proposed massive pylon sign from its plans for the Rivers Casino a
Pylon sign plan killed at Mohawk Harbor
The Rivers Casino and Resort at Mohawk Harbor off Erie Boulevard, pictured on Wednesday, is taking shape and is expected to open by next March.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

Rush Street Gaming has dumped the proposed massive pylon sign from its plans for the Rivers Casino and Resort at Mohawk Harbor.

The Chicago casino operator submitted its sign package to the city’s Department of Development on Wednesday for the Planning Commission’s meeting next month. The application is missing one big element — the 80-foot-tall pylon sign.

Rush Street decided not to pursue the pylon sign at this time, which was planned at the entrance to the Mohawk Harbor site by Front Street and the future roundabout at Erie Boulevard and Nott Street.

Casino signage

ORIGINALLY APPROVED

Total square feet: 14,928

Wall-mounted signs: 13,306

Pylon: 1,622

South side (facing Erie Boulevard): 7,434

East side (facing Freemans Bridge Road): 3,106

North side (facing Mohawk River): 1,536

West side (facing Front Street): 1,230

CURRENTLY PROPOSED

Total square feet: 7,479

Wall-mounted signs: 7,479

Pylon: 0

South side (facing Erie Boulevard): 5,463

East side (facing Freemans Bridge Road): 1,118

North side (facing Mohawk River): 0

West side (facing Front Street): 898

“Although the city has approved a pylon sign, it is not currently included in this signage package,” Rush Street said in a prepared statement on Wednesday. “It has been our goal throughout the design process to solicit feedback from all stakeholders and apply thoughtful consideration to the design of the facility in order to bring the best possible development to the city of Schenectady.”

Rush Street was planning a total of 14,928 square feet of signage, including the 1,622-square-foot pylon sign.

That has now been changed to a total of 7,479 square feet, according to documents submitted to the city. Signage for the casino will only include wall-mounted signs.

Under zoning approved by the City Council, total signage permitted for the casino is 19,000 square feet.

“Since submitting our previous plan, which was approved in July of 2015, we have reduced the total amount of signage on the property by a meaningful amount,” Rush Street said in the statement.

Officials at Rush Street could not be reached for comment on Wednesday. It is unclear why the pylon sign was disregarded or why signage overall was decreased by about half.

There will be a “Rivers Casino” sign on top of the two-story casino building, along with several signs mounted on the exterior walls of the building, except on the side that faces the Mohawk River.

The proposed signage includes 5,463 square feet of signs on the side facing Erie Boulevard, along with 1,118 square feet facing Freemans Bridge Road and 898 square feet on the side facing Front Street.

Rush could decide to build a pylon sign at a later date. The operator would have to go before the Planning Commission before doing so for approval on color and materials.

The sign was expected to be 80 feet tall, which is the maximum height allowed under zoning, with a 32-foot digital display. It would have been lit 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

At the time, designer Mike Levin, principal with Development Management Associates, said the pylon sign was needed due to poor visibility from Erie Boulevard.

Levin could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

In July, Rush Street received site plan approval from the Planning Commission for the Rivers Casino, with a four-member subcommittee tasked with reviewing changes to the pylon sign behind closed doors.

Later in September, an updated rendering of the sign with the requested changes by the subcommittee was submitted to City Hall for the Planning Commission to consider, but it was not released to the public.

Since then, the sign did not reappear on the Planning Commission’s agenda.

The Planning Commission will review Rush Street’s proposed sign package for the casino, minus the pylon sign, during its next meeting on April 20 at 6:30 p.m. in Room 110 at Schenectady City Hall.

The 150,000-square-foot Rivers Casino is currently under construction on the old Alco site off Erie Boulevard and is expected to open by next March. The casino will have an adjacent 163-room hotel, which is expected to be done six months after the casino.

Construction is also underway on a 124-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel and 206-unit apartment building on site. The hotel is expected to open in the fall, followed by the apartments early next year.

The Galesi Group is also developing the 60-acre brownfield with townhouses, office and retail buildings, and possibly condominiums based on market demand. The total price tag for the project is $480 million.

Reach Gazette reporter Haley Viccaro at 395-3114, hviccaro@dailygazette.net or @HRViccaro on Twitter.

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