CARS HOMES JOBS

Florida, Amsterdam eye boost from casino

Wednesday, June 11, 2014
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— Details of a proposed casino in Montgomery County will be unveiled next week during a formal presentation by a developer and operator partnering on the project.

Clairvest, a Toronto-based private equity management firm, and Great Canadian Gaming, a casino operator based in British Columbia, are looking to build a casino on a 520-acre site in the town of Florida and city of Amsterdam.

The two companies will pitch their project to the Florida Town Board on Monday and the Amsterdam City Council on Tuesday, according to Ken Rose, CEO of the Montgomery County Business Development Center.

Both Florida and Amsterdam have already voted on resolutions supporting a casino. But details of the project have not been made public.

Clairvest and Great Canadian did not return a request for comment on Tuesday. Rose declined to provide details of the project until the presentations next week.

Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane said a casino is expected to generate $5 million a year for Amsterdam and Florida and create “hundreds of new jobs.” A price tag for the casino and total job count is unclear.

“I think that we are the best location for a casino because it would transform our community,” Thane said. “The location would act as a transportation hub to travel to the Catskills, Saratoga, Capital Region or the Adirondacks.”

The proposed site is off Exit 27 of the state Thruway and mostly located in Florida. The 520-acre crop farm is currently for sale with a $5.25 million price tag. The property has been on the market for nearly two decades, Thane said.

Thane knocked the Galesi Group’s proposal to establish a casino on the Mohawk River at the former American Locomotive Co. site in Schenectady. She said the site already had plans for redevelopment by Galesi — with or without a casino — and believes a gaming facility would boost traffic downtown.

Galesi is teaming up with Rush Street Gaming of Chicago for a $300 million casino complete with hotels and restaurants. It is expected to create 1,200 permanent jobs and $5.7 million for the city and the county.

On Monday, the Schenectady City Council voted in favor of a resolution supporting the casino proposal. The Schenectady County Chamber of Commerce and several business leaders also support the project.

“Schenectady is already an entitled community,” Thane said. “You already have the [Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority], which is funneling money into that community. Amsterdam doesn’t have any of this and we need to start thinking about spreading the wealth around.”

Although details of a casino in Amsterdam are fuzzy, Thane said the intention is to create a “destination casino.” She expects the presentation next week to include amenities such as a hotel and restaurants.

Great Canadian currently operates four casinos in Washington and six others in British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia, along with several racetracks featuring slot machines and table games.

Applications for a full-scale casino are due by June 30. Sites in East Greenbush, Rensselaer, Cobleskill and Schenectady are also being pitched for a casino. The state will choose a location by the fall, with four casinos slated for the Capital Region, Catskills and Southern Tier.

The East Greenbush Town Board scheduled a special meeting on Thursday to vote on a resolution of support for a $300 million casino project on Thompson Hill proposed by the operators of the Saratoga Casino and Raceway and Churchill Downs of Kentucky.

On Tuesday the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce announced its support for a casino in East Greenbush, despite another casino project being proposed in the city of Rensselaer by Rochester-based Flaum Management, after plans for a casino in Albany deteriorated.

Compared to other proposals in the Capital Region, Thane said a casino has a lot of support in Amsterdam and nearby municipalities because “people understand how much this means to us in terms of jobs and improved infrastructure.”

“Schenectady already has it going on,” Thane said. “It’s time for us to shine. We need a project here, something that will be really transformational. And this is it.”

 
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comments

June 11, 2014
7:16 p.m.
anns0107 says...

Being a lifelong resident of Montgomery County I am hoping that our community has the opportunity to bring a casino here. The site in the Town of Florida is ideal from the standpoint of further expansion, access to the Thruway, I-88 and AmTrak.
A casino has certain requirements that are an absolute necessity, one of which is water. And the City of Amsterdam has ample water to support both the casino and future development.
The low crime rate and available workforce is also an attractive character of this area.
And with so much being done in the "bidding" communities already, this is a chance for State Government to truly put the casino where it would accomplish the reason they legalized it to begin with...... to booost a depressed economy, increase tax base and revenue and put people "back to work".

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