River Casino and Resort in Schenectady, New York Celebrates Construction Milestone with a “Topping-Off” Ceremony


The new River Casino and Resort property in Schenectady, New York has completed another milestone in their construction plans. The last steel beam was placed into position on Monday in a “Topping-Off’ ceremony, completing phase one of the building process.


The Rivers Casino & Resort branch at Mohawk Harbour in Schenectady, New York was awarded their gaming license by the New York Gaming Facility Location Board on the 17th of December 2014.  The construction, then estimated to cost USD 300 million, has already exceeded that budget. With a new estimate of USD 330 million, the venue is expected to have 160,000 square feet of casino area, with a 50,000 square feet gaming floor, 1,000 slot machines, poker tables and other table games facilities. The venue also has plans to open a high-end steakhouse amongst other restaurants. The adjacent hotel will house 163 guest rooms, a lounge, a day spa and banqueting facilities; 50 boat slips are also to be created at the river harbour.

“Topping-Off” Ceremony

The “Topping-Off” ceremony marked the end of phase one of construction. A 60-foot steel beam was hoisted into position; this was the final piece of steel to be installed for the building. A total of 4,500 tonnes of steel has been laid in the framework of the new property. The ceremony was held last Monday, with the participation of construction workers, local officials and dignitaries, who signed the final piece of steel beam.


The first phase included the casino, parking garage and site work. With all the steel now already in position, the exterior is expected to be finished by September this year.

Although many New York residents have been waiting for more than two years for construction on the new casino project to begin, now that works in underway, it seems to be moving quite quickly. Construction officials said that the warm weather over the winter months helped them move along at a much faster pace than expected, therefore, they are confident that the casino will be ready to open to the public in early 2017, as planned.

The work for the second phase, which consists of the 163-room hotel, is about to begin. Keeping in time with their schedule, they aim to pour the foundations in the next few weeks. A parking garage is also yet to be completed but officials guarantee that everything is moving along very smoothly and everything will be completed in time.

Minority and Women Owned Businesses

The New York State Gaming Commission included a Minority and women owned businesses (MWBE) hiring goal as part of the licensing requirement of the New York casino project; 30 per cent of jobs have been awarded to MWBE companies as specified. The involvement of MWBE work-force has been on the rise since Governor Andrew Cuomo raised the MWBE participation goals in 2011.Construction manager, Norwood-LeChase, mentioned the process of hitting these targets can be challenging for any general contractor and requires extensive outreach. Several informal sessions have been arranged to raise awareness among MWBE vendors and suppliers about opportunities available at the casino; however, it remains unclear which MWBE firms have been hired so far.

Three other casinos, which were granted gaming licenses around the same time for operations in upstate New York, also have this clause penned into their contracts; this could mean big opportunities for qualifying companies.

Other Casinos

Rivers Casino and Resort is one of four state-regulated casinos, which are to to open in upstate New York over the next few. The others in the area are the Finger Lakes, the Southern Tier and the Catskills.


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