Casino developer pulls out of Albany plan in New York

(US).- Land near Thruway Exit 23 in Albany, New York is no longer being pursued for a USD 300 million resort casino now that a development team is instead targeting a site across the Hudson River in the city of Rensselaer. "A thorough review of the 'E23' site uncovered significant land development constraints that limit our ability to deliver a destination gaming resort at that property," according to a statement released by Global Gaming Solutions.

Global Gaming Solutions is the commercial arm of Chickasaw Nation, an Oklahoma Indian tribe pursuing one of four casino licenses that will be awarded in upstate New York. "We believe that the DeLaet’s Landing site [in Rensselaer] offers the best opportunity to develop a world-class facility that will bring jobs and tax revenues to the Albany area," Global Gaming Solutions said.

The statement was released after representatives of Rochester-based real estate developer Flaum Management Co. contacted Albany city leaders to let them know about the decision to abandon the Exit 23 location in favor of the Rensselaer site.

Albany city leaders were notified that casino developers were no longer considering Albany, where they had plans for a casino, hotel and indoor water park on 60 acres of land near exit 23 of the Thruway. "What we were told was that the exit 23 site, after being reviewed more in-depth by their engineers, was not a financially viable site for the development of a casino due to the expense associated with mitigating the wetlands and the slope and topography of that site," said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan.

Mayor Sheehan says this tells her their deliberative approach was the right one. Albany Common Council President Carolyn McLaughlin is disappointed. "A lot of people are very supportive and at community meetings that were held previously they were there talking about what this would mean in terms of economic development for their community and for their individual lives. And that's what people were looking at. It offered hope," McLaughlin said.

City leaders are celebrating in Rensselaer, where the mayor has made no secret of his efforts to try to attract a casino along with its jobs and economic development. He's already had an environmental report and traffic study done for the deLaet's Landing site.

Mayor Dan Dwyer says it's the perfect spot: right on the river, within walking distance of the Amtrak train station and right off the highway. "We can be in operation before any other site by at least a year, year and a half, maybe even two years because all our conditions have been met. What this means for the state is cash revenue stream. Economically, it makes sense for our site, hopefully, to be selected," said Mayor Dwyer.

Dwyer says the details of the Rensselaer proposal will be presented to the public in about a week. Council members previously voted to support a casino, but the resolution must now make specific reference to the new plans.