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Monday, June 9, 2014


Land near Thruway Exit 23 in Albany, New York is no longer being pursued for a $300 million resort casino now that a development team is instead targeting a site across the Hudson River in the city of Rensselaer.DONATE HERE
"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.DONATE HERE
The statement was released this morning after representatives of Rochester-based real estate developer Flaum Management Co. Inc. contacted Albany city leaders to let them know about the decision to abandon the Exit 23 location in favor of the Rensselaer site.
Specific details were not released, such as the size of the proposed casino, number of gaming machines, or estimated revenue generated for the city or Rensselaer County.
Rensselaer Mayor Dan Dwyer said the city council will consider a resolution of support for the casino at its 6:30 p.m. meeting today. Council members previously voted to support a casino, but the resolution must now make specific reference to the new plans.
Dwyer first told Albany Business Review on Tuesday about the possibility of a casino at de Laet's Landing, but said he couldn't disclose details.
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said today she wasn't surprised by the turnabout given the way she said Flaum Management handled the project since announcing the plans with a big flourish in March.
"It has been very frustrating to have a developer come in and make promises and commitments to a community that clearly had no basis in fact," Sheehan said of the pledge that the 60 acres near the Thruway could also support a water park and other family-oriented attractions.
She said engineers later told Flaum only 17 of the acres were developable because of wetlands and other issues, and that there were problems with accessing the property off Route 9W behind state Thruway Authority maintenance garages, a salt shed and other buildings.
Albany Common Counclil President Carolyn McLaughlin said she was "very disappointed right about now with this turn of events."
Common Council member Judd Krasher released a statement criticizing Flaum, an influential Rochester developer.
"We all knew we couldn't trust David Flaum -- no matter how many promises he was making us or how good they may have sounded," Krasher said.
A spokesman for Flaum declined to respond to the comments from the mayor or Krasher.
Flaum's move across the river means there will be two sites in Rensselaer County competing for a state casino license. The other, in East Greenbush, is being pursued by a partnership between Saratoga Casino and Raceway and Churchill Downs Inc.
That site, off Route 4, has become controversial, with a vocal group of opponents squaring off against a coalition of business owners and other supporters. The Town Board will hold a public hearing tonight.
McCarthy said she was told one of the factors in Flaum's decision was Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to consolidate roughly 2,000 state transportation and Thruway Authority employees into a new headquarters near Exit 23, an area that fronts the 60 acres that was initially targeted for a casino.
Cuomo made the surprise announcement last week about the new, joint headquarters that will replace the Thruway Authority building at Exit 23.
McLaughlin said the development team didn't know how it was going to manage another 1,500 or so cars going to the site in addition to the traffic that would be generated by the casino.
McLaughlin said she was disappointed by the loss of millions of dollars in revenue that had been promised to the city if the casino was built near Exit 23, along with new jobs for Albany residents.
"Quite a few in the most distressed areas were very supportive of this and that will be lost to these folks," McLaughlin said.DONATE HERE
Albany's loss will be the city of Rensselaer's gain, along with that of U.W. Marx Construction Co. of Troy, the developers of the long-planned de Laet's Landing at the riverfront where the casino would be built if it wins a state license.
Peter Marx of U.W. Marx could not immediately be reached for comment.
The 60 acres near Exit 23 in Albany are owned by members of the Noonan family. When contacted this morning, Peter Noonan, the eldest of the four siblings who own the land, said he had not spoken to representatives of Flaum Management in about 10 days. He wasn't aware they were instead going to pursue a site in Rensselaer.
"No kidding," said Noonan, who reacted nonchalantly to the news.
Flaum Management Co. signed a contract to purchase the land, contingent upon getting approval to build a casino there. You can read more here about that land deal, which is obviously no longer going forward.DONATE HERE


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