Schenectady officials, developers announce casino plans

05-20-2014

SCHENECTADY — Plans to build a casino in Schenectady were revealed Tuesday. It’s one of several that will be submitted to the NYS Gaming Commission. If New York State choses the Schenectady plan, the casino would be built where the American Locomotive Company used to be located.

“This day could be a game changer for the City and County of Schenectady,” said David Buicko, The COO of the Galesi Group. The group is already working on a mixed-use plan in the same area.

Buicko called the proposal a new chapter in Schenectady’s history. “This is tying into the inner city, tying into the urban core and creating a livable city again in Schenectady,” said Buicko.

Rush Street Gaming has built other casinos in cities like Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chicago and Niagara Falls. The company said the project would boost the economy and bring jobs with good benefits.

“We are going to create jobs,” said Neil Bluhm, the Chairman of Rush Street Gaming. “We absolutely give some preference to local people, we create a lot of jobs.”

Buicko and Bluhm said they feel the Schenectady site is the strongest option because it is in an urban setting and is ready to get started.

“We’ve already gone through seekers, so from that stand point, in terms of a project being shovel ready and ready to go, we think we can be the most accelerant in terms of getting this project up and going vertical,” said Buicko.

“I think it would be very good, I mean anything that is going to bring in an influx of cash and people,” said Colin Farley, from Schenectady.

Some residents, and a business owner CBS6 News spoke with, said that Schenectady could use the boost.

“I think it’s great, anything to bring in more business,” said Edith Alois, the owner of Vintage Art on Jay Street. “We could use a little shot in the arm, Schenectady is coming back.”

Some residents said they want to know more. One resident said she is concerned about potential crime.

“I would like to know what they plan as far as what’s going to be in there, what are the hours going to be like?” said Stephanie Richmond, from Schenectady.

Bluhm said that crime has actually gone down near other casinos the company has built and that the public will learn more specifics later this summer. That is when the application to the state is due and things will be more finalized.

Mayor Gary McCarthy said he has heard from residents who have questions and want to know more about the plan. But he feels, it has support.

“It continues the development that we have in this community where they are going be a complementary activity,” said Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy.

According to the NYS Gaming Commission website, applications are due June 30th, the state is expected to choose the gaming facility operator in early fall. If Schenectady is chosen, Bluhm said the facility could be built approximately two years later.