Demolition at Alco site moving along quickly

SCHENECTADY — Buildings are being demolished off Erie Boulevard to pave the way for Galesi Group’s ambitious Mohawk Harbor development project.

The demolition of vacant buildings at the former Alco site has ramped up this past week to prepare for apartments, hotels and a possible casino — Rivers Casino at Mohawk Harbor.

The demolition should be done in two or three weeks, according to David Buicko, chief operating officer of the Galesi Group. Then after the cleanup, it’s time to build.

“The site should be cleaned up in the next couple of weeks and in the fall of this year we hope to start some foundation work,” Buicko said.

The 70,000-square-foot building being taken away, chunk by chunk, by heavy machinery was once used as office space for Alco. In all, the Galesi Group has knocked down buildings with a total of about 1 million square feet of space, Buicko said.

But STS Steel will remain on the site. The steel and plate fabricator helped build a range of structures in the Capital Region, from bridges to buildings.

The Alco manufacturing plant was used to build thousands of locomotives until the company ceased production in 1969.

Rotterdam-based Galesi Group is partnering with Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming for a $300 million proposed casino with 1,150 slot machines, 66 table games and a 50,000-square-foot poker room.

Rush and Galesi submitted their application for a casino license with the state Gaming Commission on Monday. Sites in Amsterdam, Cobleskill, East Greenbush and Rensselaer are also being proposed for a casino.

The Gaming Commission’s Facility Location Board will choose sites in the Capital Region, Catskills and Southern Tier for casinos in the fall. Four casino licenses will be awarded, with one region receiving two licenses.

If the Schenectady site is not chosen for a casino, Galesi Group still plans to move forward with its original plans for Mohawk Harbor, which includes a 124-room hotel and banquet facility, 304 apartment units, restaurants and retail.

The overall project, with a casino, comes with a $450 million price tag. Construction will be done in three phases, with the project completed in the next three to five years.

“It’s moving forward,” Buicko said. “Shovel ready? We’re actually shoveling ground. Construction is starting at Mohawk Harbor.”

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