Casino Construction Tops Off

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.

SBCC Topping Off Ceremony - 12-18-12 - 004.jpgTo 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.

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66 comments
Max
Max

Looks like Carl Paladino's nocturnal emission vision for downtown Buffalo. Stark, soulless structures surrounded by acres of parking, spawned by an unholy alliance between the public sector and a quasi-public entity.

whatever
whatever

I thought you'd know that's a marketing verb.

"rebrand [riːˈbrænd] vb

(Business / Marketing) (tr) to change or update the image of (an organization or product)"

Doesn't look vague or wishy washy.

JohnMarko
JohnMarko

I know - the two deaths from a shooting in the reception area of the Excaliber here in Vegas in front of hundres of men, women and children last Friday was SOOOOO exciting!

We need MORE GUNZ!!!

JohnMarko
JohnMarko

Actually, "craptastic" was my favorite...

"Realist"
"Realist"

"Marketing spin" huh.

I keep forgetting you have the magical ability to be wishy washy and vague while I am held to special strict word-for-word literal standards when making or interpreting comments.

Got it oh spin master.

whatever
whatever

real - remember my idea was about branding, not debating a straw man of whether Senecas do the same as Larkin for bikes & green space.

Since branding often uses marketing spin, the Seneca's support for bikes & green in the full neighborhood might seem to fans of that stuff even better than what Larkin does - wider area, more authentic, …and of course still combined with a Larkin-style big surface parking lot.

They could mention all that when doing more advertising as the Common Council so politely requested despite feeling gambling is harmful to people, lol

"Realist"
"Realist"

Nope. Nowhere in my comment did I mention anything about the SGC's investments in neighborhoods around the casino site. All I did was explain how your Larkin branding of the BCC's parking lot would work if it actually possessed some of the characteristics of the award-winning Larkin District.

If I were you at this point, I'd make some condescending remarks about reading comprehension, strawman, etc.

To briefly entertain your lame deflection though, I think it is nice that the SGC is spending some of their profits to help out local businesses and non-profits. It almost makes me forget about the much larger amount of money they are saving in not paying any taxes and delinquent "exclusivity" fees.

whatever
whatever

"Which party advocates for deregulation, weak regulation, and weak government oversight?"

It doesn't matter what rhetoric any party advocates in campaign season if so many leaders of the party then do differently once in office. Arguably, maybe that's even worse in some ways.

The slightly more full crux they reported was: "it was the collapse of the housing bubble—fueled by low interest rates, easy and available credit, scant regulation, and toxic mortgages — that was the spark that ignited a string of events, which led to a full-blown crisis in the fall of 2008. …"

The 'easy and available credit' part of the crux was more part of your D side's public advocating in campaigns (but as with 'scant regulation', many of both D's and R's share responsibility for that one too of course).

Greenspan's low interest rates was another part, as Tom and Matt mentioned. Greenspan was repeatedly re-appointed to fed chair by presidents of both parties (including two times by Clinton), while his successor Bernanke was appointed by both GWB and Obama.

Despite different sounding campaign advocacy at times to each side's base, there's a huge amount of policy overlap in the establishments of both parties.

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

We can argue all day about the role of individual politicans but the link cited by whatever under our debate 'not long ago here' is clear. The crux of the commissions final report on the economic collapse was "lack of or weak regulation and poor oversight were the main drivers of the crisis" Which party advocates for deregulation, weak regulation, and weak government oversight?

Matthew.Ricchiazzi
Matthew.Ricchiazzi

At this point, I think our only hope is that they soon pursue new development projects atop the surface parking lots.

whatever
whatever

real - the casino renderings show pretty good pedestrian access (maybe as good as Larkin?), and it seems the Senecas already have support for casino neighborhood bike riders & green space going on.....

From Business First a few months ago

"A mix of community agencies and some private-sector businesses were the recipients of a jointly-shared $1 million grant from the Seneca Nation of Indians and Seneca Gaming Corp.

[bikes!]

- Buffalo BicycleShare/Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo received $24,000 to operate a bike-sharing program for residents of the casino’s surrounding neighborhood and for tourists.

[green park trails!]

- The Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society was allocated $52,000 to develop a Buffalo Creek interpretative trail including signage and historical markers inside the Canalside footprint, Riverfest Park, Riverfront Pavilion and other appropriate locations.

[more green space!]

- Re-Tree WNY was allocated $20,720 to help pay for and plant 150 trees along public thoroughfares near the casino.

- 311 S. Park Avenue Inc. received $26,500 to help finance landscaping around its operations.

- Kellner Bros Inc. received a $15,000 grant to create a park-like exterior around its Chicago Street building. …."

Looks like they thought of your suggestions before you wrote them.

(btw, how much of any of that stuff were the long vacant H-O grain elevators generating?)

Matthew.Ricchiazzi
Matthew.Ricchiazzi

Obviously, I take issue with both the anti-Indian and anti-Italian sentiments in you comment.

In terms of vote buying: Look at the American political system and all of its corruption. Look at New York State's corruption. It takes some real ignorant elitism to be snooty and condescending towards an Indian tribe's political system. They just had a very robust election, and I don't think anyone can discredit the quality of their democracy. They have very high participation rates and a highly decentralized power structure.

As for withholding of funds: Wealthy gaming interests in the region have been conspiring to defraud an Indian tribe of an asset worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Those corporate gaming interests, politicians, and lobbyists have been conspiring to defraud the Seneca Nation of regional exclusivity rights purchased in a 2001 compact. They've successfully conspired to open casinos at Hamburg, Batavia, and in the Finger Lakes -- effectively a theft of hundreds of millions of dollars from a still vulnerable and impoverished people.

Jack Abramoff went to prison on the same charge for stealing a lot less, and in a far more subjective legal area. I would be surprised in the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs doesn't launch an investigation, like they did into Abramoff. The conspiracy to defraud is just too blatant and too violative of the intent of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (particularly the area that says that if a state wants to profit from Indian gaming, the only way it could do so, because states are unable to tax tribes, is if the state sells the tribe a legitimate asset).

As for the Snyder Beach evictions: The Seneca Nation, like most Indian reservations, has enormous challenges in terms of housing and overcrowding with all of the pressures and aspirations of cultural retention, community cohesion, and the collective survival of their people. Also, banks don't offer mortgages to build houses on reservations (talk about red lining), and almost all of the land is owned by individuals, so it's difficult to increase housing supply for a very young and rapidly growing population. It's not like they have ample surpluses of land -- almost all of their land has been stolen already.

On what little of their land base that they have left -- yes, please get off of it.

hamp
hamp

There were some fantastic grain silos on this site, that many deemed historic.

One of the first things the Senecas did was knock them down. Then they spread a million dollars around the neighborhood to buy off any naysayers, and the city is left with this piece of trash.

hamp
hamp

This piece of garbage is an insult to our community.

Jay D
Jay D

WHY ARE YOU YELLING?!?!

Jay D
Jay D

I know it wasnt meant literally, but using that word on this building brought that reaction

Buffalo_Resurrection
Buffalo_Resurrection

As long as the Senecas are "landlocked" on this nine-acre site and not able to purchase surrounding property like in NIagara Falls, consider this project an opportunity for construction workers who may have been otherwise unemployed this time of year.

Also, for those seeking work or in dire need of employment, maybe gaming is an option.

As for the design; who really cares as it is a done deal and what did you expect for a gaming establishment?

The place will be packed every night as this area seems to hold an assortment of individuals who love the thought of winning big money - even if the odds are stacked against them.

"Realist"
"Realist"

In order for that branding strategy to work, you'd have to add structured parking, bike-ped accommodations, public greenspace, and multi-story restored "eyesore arson trap" historic buildings like the actual Larkin District.

Adding those things may offend the keep-your-government-hands-off-my-subsidized-car-culture crowd so the brand's appeal may be limited.

"Realist"
"Realist"

No CC and UpandComing. Those of us who "bitched" or "obstructed" have nothing to do with the lackluster design of the Buffalo casino. The Seneca Gaming Corporation operates under the flag of a sovereign nation and is not at all accountable to the non-Senecas who have been opposed to the casino, or any federal, state, or local politicians. Based on the court rulings to date, they are free to build whatever casino they want, pretty or otherwise.

If you want to blame someone, blame yourself and other casino dreamers getting their hopes up over destination casino renderings pitched to the public in spite of the fact that SEC fillings indicated the SGC planned a more modest, locals-only casino all along.

Rand503
Rand503

When I think of casinos, I think of men in black ties and women in glamorous gowns. Palm trees outside amid the Bentleys. The Mediterranean washes up nearby. Everyone is drinking martinis.

Suddenly -- a man flips over a table. Oh no! Double oh seven is getting into another bar fight! Women scream, diamonds and pearls drop all over the red carpet, and men pull out stun guns. Roulette wheels crash and the poker chips fly. 007 runs out the back door, where an Astin Martin is waiting, and he screeches down the street.

Our casinos are so boring.

rpm40
rpm40

You must be kidding...but it doesn't sound like you are.

Then again, with all the vote buying, withholding of funds, kicking residents out of their homes, and generally doing anything they can to make a buck for the politically connected with little to no concern for their people as a whole, the Seneca leaders are doing the best mob impersonations, so maybe they should just take that last step and go full-on old Vegas.

Dan
Dan

* Cars under the stars

* Door-to-door self-guided personal transit

* Crystal Beach style

* Self-valet service

* Old-fashioned country style horseless carriage storage

EAHS 1972
EAHS 1972

Won't pass judgment on the building, one man's trash is another's treasure.

But I'm just wondering, what was there before the casino? Or how long had this been a vacant lot, and open to anyone to develop?

Matthew.Ricchiazzi
Matthew.Ricchiazzi

You can also blame Alan Greenspan for not tightening credit markets in his last term as Chairman

Tom
Tom

blame Alan Greenspan. One of the constants in all of the deregulation talks since the 1980s.

STEEL
STEEL

Yep give me the long list. The big casino was already under construction. It stopped when the economy went bust. Beyond that a casino has been running in Buffalo for 5 or 6 years now. Nothing was obstructed by anyone.

medea
medea

boo, hoo people, considering the original Buffalo Creek concentration camp was 85, 557 acres and 9 acres remain, do you think your sleepy critiques really matter? Um, no. I wish they could sell gas, beer and smokes oh and Pinot Grigio and maybe some flavored olive oil for all the high-minded wanks that think history is irrelevant,,ha!

impressingagent
impressingagent

Let them buy more land and put up an indoor roller coaster.

whatever
whatever

"Convenient surface parking"

Would it help make projects like this more lovable if everyone would rebrand 'convenient surface parking' as 'Larkinville-style public access'?

Matthew.Ricchiazzi
Matthew.Ricchiazzi

Those 9 acres are too valuable to be surface parking lot. You can sell anything off that land and it would be free of state taxes and regulations (gaming, tobacco, gasoline)

75% of the site is used for surface parking, which represents a huge opportunity cost.

If you really want to turn the cobblestone district into a major tourist destination, NYS should pass a medical marijunna bill. Then, the Senecas can buildout a red light district over which the Nation would enjoy civil regulatory jurisdiction. It would be great to have a drinking age of 19 as well, to capture some of that business that we're loosing to Niagara Falls, Canada.

In the whole, that 9 acre red light district could be a major anchor to get people downtown. It would make the entire city stronger.

Dan
Dan

> creating an energetic environment with a distinctive local flavor

Convenient surface parking, with local flavor provided by strategically piled mounds of gray snow, comforting us until April, or even May if there's an especially authentic winter that year.

> 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,

Thus will definitely draw in the crowds. After all, where else can one red sauce Italian, beef on weck, wings, and pizza with sweet sauce and Margherrita pepperoni in the Buffalo area? If only they had sponge candy, Genny Cream and endless refills on loganberry drink -- one can dream.

> The impact is expected to be even more widespread across Western New York when the casino opens.

This is a small but important step in meting the ever-growing demand for surface parking by hardworking Western New Yorkers.

NBuffguy
NBuffguy

LOL, this is my favorite comment.

Buffaboy
Buffaboy

This site has a plethora of pessimists...Nevertheless, this is a blan, space wasting stubby design. Ask yourself this; when you hear the word "casino", what do you think of? This, or something else? Because when I think of casinos, I think of the Bellagio, and the sphinx, and all the MGM casinos. Heck, I even think of the Allegheny and Niagara casinos. This is by far their worst.

But what is intriguing to me is that wing with the parking garage. If, and it's a big if, if they expand doesn't it look as if they could add a few more of those wings, which would be hotel towers?

In the meantime, that isn't going to happen. I also remain steadfast that there were obstructionists, not preservationists of course, that aided in the downsize of the original plan in conjunction with a tanking economy.

whatever
whatever

BRL>"Those dollars are just diverted from other legitimate businesses"

Hmm, I'm not sure if that wording is meant to say the casino is "legitimate" or implying it isn't?

Anyhow, I don't see how the casino is any less legitimate than many other things in the city which some moralizers can say are addictive vices - countless bars, stores selling wine or upscale beer, head shops, OTB, lottery sales, etc.

I don't recall ever seeing any of those called illegitimate.

Yeah, the temporary monopoly the state govt agreed to was a dumb bad decision instead of legalizing casino businesses for all like they should've.

The Senecas didn't force our NYS elected officials to agree to that, and they didn't force our Buffalo city govt elected officials to file lawsuits to have the casino be in the city instead of Cheektowaga as the Senecas preferred.

The diverting dollars is mostly true (except for customers it attracts from Canada which is already happening, or who'd otherwise go over there, or to casinos in Hamburg or Batavia). But even with most local customers who choose to be diverted from something else in the city, it's just like when anything such as a new bar, comedy club, or beer store tries to divert $ from other things. Competition.

If the casino diverts any $ from the Sabres or Bills, at least the buy-local people should be happy the Senecas are WNY-based, not Florida-owned or Michigan-owned like our pro sports teams are.

synthesis
synthesis

I wonder what progress the law suit that the citizens for a better buffalo have challenging the casino's ability to gamble on this land. There was an article on this sight back in April but it offered nothing to specific on when Judge Skretny will make all decisions final. There are some silver linings here in that the Seneca's don't exactly appear to be winning this case. Furthermore, the current deal will expire in due time and if we yell and scream enough, maybe our politicians will see that this is a bad deal and not renew with the Seneca’s. Then we will have a failed empty gambling hall, maybe then the Seneca’s can convert it to the most elaborate gas station and smoke shop mankind has ever seen!

NBuffguy
NBuffguy

He probably meant it figuratively, but "heights" was nevertheless a poor word choice.

SecedefromNYS
SecedefromNYS

Lets Roll Senecas.... Though I wish i were bigger

ladyinwhite
ladyinwhite

Oops my bad. Forgot a zero. Then I find it hard to believe wait staff, kitchen help etc will be clearing 100 grand a year.

Buffalogni
Buffalogni

Wrong. The Community Reinvestment Act was a bipartisan screw-up.

Hey fellow citizens, when you like one party over the other you are just playing their game and bankrupting the country. Be skeptical of the whole thing.

Here is a good paper on how the CRA started the mess:

http://papers.nber.org/papers/w18609#fromrss

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

As STEEL already noted, the casino was the victim of the economic collapse brought on by the failed policies of Bush and his Republican cronies, it had nothing to do with "obstructionists".

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

"people like you cheer on government spending", no I am actually more fiscally conservative, especially in my personal life, just ask my wife.

elmdog
elmdog

It's not the answer at all ... The Seneca's say they will use outside hotels and restaurants , for this to happen and work thru will need a system to do so ..... A shuttle system could help this awful casino work with local companies ..... When I say shuttle , i I mean it in a grand sense - non stop, all hours going back and forth from bars, restaurants, hotels etc.... This might attract out of Towners .... But probably not .... I hate the casino just as much as the next guy

Old First Ward
Old First Ward

It kind of reminds me of the Holiday Showcase Restaurant in Cheektowaga. For the casual gambler it will stop the excursion to Niagara Falls.

At least it looks better than the horrible parking ramp to the left. But for the time being it is better than nothing. Assuming better is one step above nothing. It does have the ability to expand both upwards and outwards.

So what is Carl Paladino doing doing with his building now besides updating his billboard punch list.

Up and coming
Up and coming

"Do you know something no one else does?"

.....you want the long list, or the short list.

Matthew.Ricchiazzi
Matthew.Ricchiazzi

I know, what a pathetic and uninspired design plan. They hired an absolutely clueless urban planner. And, when it was evident how below-par the design was, the Porter Administration pushed ahead anyways. No way were they going to delay the awarding of $130 million in construction contracts until after the election!

All the while, they were paying the SNI Planner $140,000 a year, and they were paying the VP for Development at the Gaming Corporation (whose only job is to think up new development concepts) $500,000 a year.

Rather than a real reclaimation of this reservation, the interests of the Gaming Corp (like close parking for gamblers) trumped the interests of the Seneca people (like housing, storefronts, and the reestablishment of Buffalo's urban Indian enclave that largely emanated from that reservation). The gaming corp controls 100% of the Buffalo Creek Reservation, and not a single Indian lives there.

Imagine a real reclamation of the Buffalo Creek Reservation (which was originally stolen in the 1840s). Imagine primarily residential mixed use development packed with street-level storefronts owned and operated by individual Seneca artisans, niche shops, tobacco merchants, touristy museums, and community centers -- and a more boutique, less overbearing gaming venue. It would have been a way for ordinary individual Senecas to partake in the Nation's economic development -- able to enjoy the advantages of regulatory arbitrage. This would have had a much more broad based economic impact on the people of the Nation -- not just the tribal government.

A real reclaimation of a lost reservation would have been so much more profound an accomplishment for the Nation and for the Seneca People. Instead, the Nation pursued the Buffalo Creek territory with a monomaniacal purpose: gaming.

For all Indians, this type of behavior undermines the legitimacy of all of our long standing political claims -- it makes people think that we're all corrupt and all about casinos. It reinforces racial stereotypes and it exacerbates racial hostilities with surrounding communities and governments.

joey d
joey d

SECTION 8 housing sorrounding this project would fit right in!

STEEL
STEEL

Their plans have been obstructed by nothing other than the economy. Do you know something no one else does?

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