Roughly two years from now, roulette wheels will be spinning, cards will be shuffled, and poker chips will be piling up in Schenectady.
However, the only thing piling up beside the Mohawk River are steel pilings and large mountains of dirt.
So at this point, where do things stand on the Rivers Casino project?
It was last December when Schenectady found out they’d be getting a new gambling casino.
Here we are 10 months later, and no one in this community has seen a casino license yet.
Still, the construction — and the anticipation — moves forward.
Along the historic banks of the Mohawk River, David Buicko of the Galesi Group sees Schenectady’s future. It’s a destination you can’t reach by setting GPS coordinates — although you can get there by following the imagination of visionaries and architects, along with investors who are willing to gamble $300 million to transform the longtime brownfield into a deluxe casino resort.
“We wouldn’t be spending this money if we weren’t confident, first of all,” noted Buicko.
He is confident Schenectady is well on its way to cashing in its casino development chips.
However, before the city arrives in a world of casinos and condominiums, and before high-rise hotels redefine the skyline, and before a millionaire’s yacht can sail into the manmade harbor, it will take at least a few more years of digging and building in this mud.
“If you don’t have concerns, you’re not in this business,” admitted Buicko.
“Of course we have concerns. We’re building something that nobody’s ever done in our region before.”
To reach this point, it took five years of planning, demolition, and environmental remediation. There was public input and community uproar. There were tentative blueprints, and then finalized versions. There was an approval process. At times, Buicko says things got complicated.