Schenectady Rivers Casino proposal unveiled
Updated 1:21 p.m.
SCHENECTADY The Galesi Group and Rush Street Gaming of Chicago are partnering with plans to build a full-scale casino at the former ALCO site in Schenectady.
Rush Street Gaming signed on to operate the proposed casino at Galesi Group’s $150 million riverfront development between Erie Boulevard and the Mohawk River.
“This is Schenectady's time. This is an economic engine that is going to support the next 50 to 100 years," Buicko said during a news conference Tuesday morning at Proctors’ GE Theatre. "Simply put, this casino project can be a game changer for the city and county of Schenectady."
The casino, called the Rivers Casino at Mohawk Harbor, would be similar to the casino Rush Street Gaming operates in Pittsburgh. That casino – also called Rivers Casino – has nearly 3,000 slot machines, 86 table games and a live poker room. It employs 1,800 and generates about $175 million annually for Pittsburgh and its neighbors.
Buicko said the project is expected to create 1,000 construction jobs. But many questions were left unanswered including the casino’s price tag – which is required to be at least $182.25 million, according to the state Gaming Commission — the number of permanent jobs and the amount of money that would be generated for the city and county.
Neil Bluhm, chairman of Rush Street Gaming, said he is very excited to be in Schenectady and work to establish a casino in the area. Rush operates several casinos in Philadelphia, Illinois and Ontario.
"We will make the Rivers Casino at Mohawk River a reality," Bluhm said. "I am excited to be working with the Galesi Group. We have a great project here to take an old site...and improve it and create economic benefits, jobs and tax revenues. I think it will be a home run all around."
Galesi’s riverfront rehabilitation also includes a 124-room hotel and banquet facility, 304 apartment units and a supermarket. Previously, Buicko was targeting a film studio for the site but did not receive adequate funding from the state for California-based Pacifica Ventures to build a $69 million studio.
But Schenectady is just officially entering the casino competition, and the project will need support from the city council to be considered for a license from the state. Other proposed casino sites in the region include Albany, East Greenbush, Montgomery County, and Schoharie County.