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Thursday, 30 May 2013 13:39

Saratoga Casino and Raceway Announces $30 Million Expansion

By Chelsea DiSchiano | News
Saratoga Casino and Raceway announced May 28 it will expand its facilities with a 120-room hotel and multi-use event center. Saratoga Casino and Raceway announced May 28 it will expand its facilities with a 120-room hotel and multi-use event center. Rendering provided.

Addition Includes 120-Room Hotel, 24,000-Square-Foot Event Center

SARATOGA SPRINGS — In an effort to attract more tourists to the city and create an “international resort destination,” Saratoga Casino and Raceway announced a $30 million investment to expand its facilities by adding a 120-room hotel and 24,000-square-foot multi-use event center, among other amenities.

The expansion, set to begin construction in early 2014, will create 325 union construction jobs during the build and 260 full and part-time jobs as employees of the Casino once the project reaches completion. An economic impact study estimates that the expansion will directly and indirectly generate more than $1.3 million in state income, sales and business taxes, along with $450,000 in local sales taxes.

Over 2.2 million people visited the raceway and casino last year and the proposed hotel is estimated to bring another 1.2 million visitors annually. Along with the hotel, a multi-use events center will be built for any purpose, from meetings and conferences to weddings and concerts. The hotel will also hold a new full-service restaurant and pool and spa.

The announcement of the $30 million expansion comes as the raceway continues to vie to be chosen as one of three full-scale gaming sites in upstate New York, should state lawmakers and the public approve the State constitution to allow Las Vegas-style facilities in a possible referendum vote this November. 

But James Featherstonhaugh, raceway secretary and New York Gaming Association president, said that the expansion is “not a sales pitch” to be chosen as one of the sites for full-scale gaming. 

“That would only expand our plan, not change it,” Featherstonhaugh said. “But it is a plan that is expandable, should circumstances warrant.”

Brian Davis of JCJ Architecture added that this expansion is part of a master plan for the casino that was designed several years ago and “lets you plan for unexpected opportunities.” 

“We have designed this for expansions so we don’t paint ourselves into a corner,” Davis said. 

Though he did say that if legislation for full-scale gaming is approved they will “actively bid” to become one of those sites, Featherstonhaugh emphasized that the raceway “has no plans for anything beyond this.” 

Davis said the architecture of the new hotel will “embrace and reflect the character of the community.” 

“Our goal was to sensibly create a unique experience for our guests and develop sophisticated yet subtle designs,” Davis continued. “We wanted it to be monumental yet approachable—it’s hard to capture both of those elements at the same time, but we want this to be truly worthy of an international destination.”

Several of Saratoga’s politicians and businesspeople showed up to the announcement May 28, voicing their support of the raceway’s expansion and future. Most of the City Council members were in attendance, along with Senator Kathy Marchione, Alan Grattidge of the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors, Todd Shimkus of the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce, Peter Ward of the New York Hotel Trades Council,  and Assemblyman Tony Jordan.

“We welcome this expansion as we move forward to do what is better for our community,” said Mayor Scott Johnson. 

Senator Marchione praised the raceway for the jobs it will create and for its support of the Saratoga Springs community and local nonprofits. 

“This expansion will greatly benefit our community and region as it adds 260-plus jobs, not to mention new investment dollars and regional tourist dollars,” Marchione said. “This will build upon the success of gaming in the area—we are a world class destination.”

Featherstonhaugh said the raceway and casino plans to have “shovels in the ground” next January, which will mark the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Saratoga Casino and Raceway. 

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