Local construction workers set the final steel beam into place for the new Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino yesterday. The $130 million project, being developed on the Seneca Nation’s nine-acre Buffalo Creek Territory, is expected to be a central component in the rejuvenated tourism and recreation environment being cultivated in the Inner Harbor area.
“Today, we have reached new heights on an exciting new path for the Seneca Nation, for our neighbors in the City of Buffalo and for the thousands of visitors who will soon be able to enjoy a new energy in downtown Buffalo,” said Barry E. Snyder, Sr., President of the Seneca Nation of Indians. “We expect to reach even greater heights when the new Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino opens in 2013.”
The new casino will feature 800 slot machines and 16 table games, creating an energetic environment with a distinctive local flavor. The menu of the casino’s Buffalo-centric restaurant will feature such signature items as chicken wings from Duff’s Restaurant, beef on weck from Charlie the Butcher, Italian favorites from Ilio DiPaolo’s, pizza from Franco’s Pizza, desserts and pastries from Chrusciki Bakery and gelato from Sweet Melody’s, all tasty local favorites made possible through partnerships with iconic local restaurants.
“The partnerships developed by Seneca Gaming Corporation extend far beyond the walls and operations of this new casino and our existing properties,” said Robert Mele, chairman, Seneca Gaming Corporation. “As a significant local employer and a growing local business, our partners are on the construction sites, shop floors, warehouses, board rooms and living rooms throughout Western New York.”
Although still in development, the new casino is already providing a significant economic impact to the area through the creation of approximately 600 construction period jobs with more than $32 million in wages and earnings. The impact is expected to be even more widespread across Western New York when the casino opens. Approximately 500 direct jobs will be created by the casino’s operation, representing $52 million in annual payroll. Furthermore, the larger casino will mean additional business opportunities for local companies. Seneca Gaming Corporation projects that $170 million in direct and indirect spending with local companies will result from the procurement of goods and services for the new facility.
To help foster new and ongoing local vendor partnerships, Seneca Gaming Corporation has held a number of vendor fairs in recent months, giving local companies of all sizes the opportunity to introduce their products and services to the corporation and to learn what business opportunities may exist.
In addition to their local business and hiring efforts, the Seneca Nation and Seneca Gaming Corporation, through the Seneca Buffalo Creek Development Advisory Committee, earlier this year awarded $1 million to support a host of community development, beautification, lighting, infrastructure and other improvement projects in the neighborhood surrounding the Buffalo Creek Territory. A total of 17 organizations, businesses and community groups received funding.
Construction of the new Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino and attached parking garage is expected to continue through the summer, with a target opening in the fall. The project was designed by The Hnedak Bobo Group, a nationally-recognized leader in casino design. Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino opened in 2007 and has undergone two subsequent expansions, in 2008 and 2010. Today, the casino features 457 slot machines and attracts more than 800,000 visitors annually.
“There is unparalleled activity and excitement taking shape in the Inner Harbor, with the convergence of the Canalside, Webster Block and other development initiatives,” said Seneca Gaming president and CEO Cathy Walker. “Adding a fully-developed Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino to that mix provides all of us an opportunity to continue to enhance the visitor experience in downtown Buffalo.”
Photos courtesy of Seneca Gaming Corporation. Second photo: Seneca Nation President Barry E. Snyder, Sr. signing the beam before the ceremony.