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Rivers Casino signs get city blessing

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Rivers Casino signs get city blessing

Rush Street Gaming of Chicago decreased its total signage for the casino and hotel
Rivers Casino signs get city blessing
Mohawk Harbor site construction in Schenectady on Feb. 2, 2016.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

The operator of the future Rivers Casino and Resort at Mohawk Harbor received approval from the city Planning Commission for its signage package, minus the massive pylon sign it originally sought.

Rush Street Gaming of Chicago decreased its total signage for the casino and hotel from a total of 14,928 square feet to 7,479 square feet. Signage for the casino only includes wall-mounted signs and does not include plans for the proposed 1,622-square-foot pylon sign.

Designer Mike Levin, principal with DMA Associates of Chicago, said due to additional studies and changes in elevations of the buildings, the total signage was reduced significantly.

Levin said initially the pylon sign was needed because the casino is set back at least 400 feet from Erie Boulevard and would be blocked by STS Steel and the future roundabout at Erie and Nott Street.

“We were very concerned about the visibility,” he said during the commission’s meeting Wednesday evening at City Hall. “A good portion of our guests will be people who don’t know the area and come here once or twice a year.”

The pylon sign would have been 80 feet tall, which is the maximum height allowed under zoning, with a 32-foot digital display. Rush Street could opt to erect a pylon sign at a later date but would have to return to the commission for approval on its colors and materials.

“We have come to the conclusion that we think we can get adequate visibility without the pylon sign,” Levin said. “We’re going to reserve our right to construct the pylon in the future if we need it. Now we’re planting the area of the pylon sign.”

The signage package includes 5,463 square feet of signage on the side of the casino facing Erie Boulevard, along with 1,118 square feet facing Freemans Bridge Road and 898 square feet on the side facing Front Street. There will be no signs facing the Mohawk River.

Planning Commission Chairwoman Mary Moore Wallinger questioned why there aren’t any signs planned facing the river with boats and the biking and walking paths. Levin said studies concluded it wasn’t needed.

Rush Street was given the option of returning to the commission if the operator decides to add signage on the casino’s side facing the river. Two signs were previously proposed there for a total of 1,536 square feet.

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

“We’re very comfortable with it and we think it is tasteful and will accomplish our goal to show what’s going on at the facility,” Levin said of the signage.

Levin said the messages on the signs have not been finalized and that they would be changed on a regular basis based on the casino’s contests and promotions and vendors.

The Rivers Casino is currently under construction on the old Alco site off Erie Boulevard and is expected to open by next March. The 150,000-square-foot casino will have a 50,000-square-foot gaming floor with 1,150 slot machines, 63 table games and 16 poker tables.

The casino will have an adjacent 163-room hotel, which will open six months after the casino. Also under construction on the riverfront property is a 124-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel and 204-unit apartment building.

Rotterdam developer the Galesi Group is also building a 15-unit townhouse building and office and retail buildings on site with a possible condominium building in the future.

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