PHILADELPHIA, PA. — On the western shore of the Delaware River in Philadelphia, north of Interstate 676, lies the historic Fishtown neighborhood. It is one of the city’s oldest industrial neighborhoods, dating back to the fishing industry in the 1700’s.
By the turn of the 21st century, Fishtown was a failing neighborhood, and many of Philadelphia’s legacy industries had pulled out, leaving a landscape of shuttered factories and empty warehouses. But over the past decade the trend of vacancy has reversed, with a number of restaurants and residential spaces occupying the old buildings. Since 2010, SugarHouse Casino has been central to the transformation.
Built on the site of an old sugar refinery, SugarHouse Casino saw monumental growth in its first five years, leading to a $164 million expansion that opened in May 2016. The demand on the casino forced managers to expand from 1,200 jobs to now more than 1,700 employees.
And SugarHouse’s ownership company, Rush Street Gaming, says its newest casino in Schenectady will be modeled after the success in Fishtown. The company has hired some previous leaders from the Philadelphia property to manage Rivers Casino–Schenectady; among them is new general manager Mary Cheeks, as well as SugarHouse’s former director of gaming operations.
“There is a wealth of experience, there’s charming personalities,” says SugarHouse’s current general manager Wendy Hamilton, who has worked with many new members of Schenectady’s leadership team.
“These are people that I truly love,” Hamilton says, “and they’re going to do a great job.”
The physical building in Schenectady will also mirror SugarHouse Casino, albeit on a smaller scale. Schenectady will have a little more than half of the table games that SugarHouse boasts, and roughly 700 fewer slots. But many design elements from the new expansion in Philadelphia will be present in Schenectady, including lighting elements and the design of the high-limit gaming area. The Rivers Casino in Schenectady will also include a multi-purpose event center similar to Philadelphia’s, and a number of local partner restaurants.
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Redick, Geoff. “All In: Schenectady’s Future with a Casino.” TWC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 July 2016.