Hard Rock now involved in proposed Rensselaer casino - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Hard Rock now involved in proposed Rensselaer casino

Posted: Updated: Jun 19, 2014 05:41 PM
Rensselaer casino plans Rensselaer casino plans

RENSSELAER, N.Y. – The proposed casino in Rensselaer added Hard Rock International as a collaborator Thursday.

The group behind the push to bring a casino to Albany, set its sights on Rensselaer in early June.

NYS Funding LLC released a statement at the time saying they will "no longer be pursuing a gaming facility license for the “E23” development site in Albany and instead will shift our efforts to the DeLaet’s Landing site in Rensselaer."

If the city wins the casino bid, Flaum Management would own the land, Global Gaming would operate the casino while partnered with Capital OTB, and Hard Rock International would run the high-end hotel and restaurant.

“Hard Rock International is thrilled to collaborate with NYS Funding LLC to potentially create a world class facility in Rensselaer within the Capital Region, as it would become an important economic engine for the community,” said Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International. “We look forward to lending our global recognition, strong legacy of philanthropy and entertainment, and proven experience to this project. We are confident that this Hard Rock Hotel & Casino will positively impact the community’s economy.”

“Hard Rock is an internationally recognized brand known for high quality offerings across the globe,” said Dan Dwyer, mayor of Rensselaer. “Introducing the Hard Rock brand to the region and to our city greatly elevates the excitement around this project and will make the resort casino even more attractive and successful as a destination for the local community and visitors alike.”

Dwyer said the building could cost upwards of $200 million to build. He said that will bring tax revenue the city needs, especially since 66 percent of the land in Rensselaer is tax exempt.

The mayor said a casino would change the city for the better for years to come.

“Fantastic hotel chain; does extremely well; high-end,” he said. “The last I heard is that it’s going to be a minimum of 100 rooms all high-end. So it’s a real plus for us. The name alone is fantastic.”

More details about the proposed casino project will be released in the Request for Application submitted by NYS Funding LLC by the June 30 deadline.

Rensselaer resident Mary Lou Knox can see the potential of a casino in the city.

“I love it. I couldn’t believe that it was Hard Rock,” she said. “I can just picture the riverfront with the boardwalk and shops and restaurants. It will be just what we need here.”

Allen agrees.

“Beautiful skyline, a nice beautiful site with great access,” he said. “So those things are all incredibly positive.”

John Signor is the president of Capital OTB.

“It’s going to bring jobs and revenue that are needed in this area and this county,” he said.

Capital OTB moved its plans to Rensselaer after a failed pitch in Albany.

“The land is not big enough to build what would have won,” he explained.

Signor and Dwyer think Rensselaer has a winning hand.

“It’s going to put Rensselaer on the map,” Dwyer said. “World class.”

Allen said partnerships with Main Street is important to the project.

“I think we’d love to form a business relationship, whether it’s here in Rensselaer or across the river,” he said. “We’re always receptive to work out those types of relationships.”

But it’s not so great for everyone.

“I lived in the city of Rensselaer all my life,” resident Marshall Dolgin said. “We don’t need something like this.”

He doesn’t think a casino will attract major tourism or lower taxes like promised.

“I’ll believe it when I see it,” he said.

The developers said they are ready to submit their proposal to the state. They just have to wait for the state to decide if Rensselaer gets a casino.

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