Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino celebrates grand opening as downtown gaming destinationby jmaloni
$130 million permanent facility brings 808 slots, 18 table games, Buffalo-centric restaurant and approximately 500 jobs to downtown Buffalo's burgeoning waterfront
With the backdrop of a spectacular fireworks display, officials with the Seneca Nation of Indians and Seneca Gaming Corp. looked on with pride Tuesday night as the long-awaited Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino made its official debut in downtown Buffalo. The $130 million gaming facility becomes the latest attraction in the rapidly developing Cobblestone District along the Inner Harbor.
"In developing this world-class property, the Seneca Nation set out to transform an old industrial site, a shade of Buffalo's past, into a key piece of the city's future," said Seneca Nation President Barry E. Snyder Sr. "Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino will forever stand out as a testament to Buffalo's rebirth and a permanent reminder of the important role, which the Seneca Nation and its people play in the future of Western New York."
Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino earlier this month initiated a transition process into the new gaming space as construction crews continued to put the finishing touches on 808 new slot machines, 18 table games, two restaurants, a sports bar, a four-level parking ramp with 725 spaces and surface parking for nearly another 400 cars. The 67,000 square-foot facility replaces a temporary structure that had stood since 2007 and had expanded in 2008 and 2010 - offering 457 slot machines and a snack bar at its peak. Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino has regularly attracted more than 800,000 visitors a year - a number that is expected to increase to well past 3 million annually for years to come.
"Building on the legacy we have created at Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel, Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino will add unmistakable energy and excitement to the Inner Harbor area," said Kevin W. Seneca, chairman of the Seneca Gaming Corp. board of directors. "This world-class entertainment venue will be a key component for visitors to enjoy in downtown Buffalo."
Both inside and nearby the new facility, there are many visible signs of the casino's partnerships with the Buffalo community. One of the most prominent is Buffalo Savors Grill, a 102-seat restaurant that includes some of the region's favorite foods. Just some of the many items on the menu include: chicken wings from Duff's Famous Wings; beef-on-weck from Charlie the Butcher; Italian sandwiches with family-recipe sauces from Ilio DiPaolo's; pizza from Franco's Pizza; desserts and pastries from Chrusciki Bakery; and gelato from Sweet Melody's.
Steps away from Buffalo Savors Grill is BC Café, a smaller, 24-hour eatery featuring locally made soups, salads, sandwiches, desserts, baked goods, local coffee from McCullagh Coffee and a small retail area. Stixx Sports Bar serves as a central gathering spot with signature cocktails and hometown beers on tap, and features hockey and lacrosse sticks - representing two of the sports which professional teams play nearby - as part of the architecture.
Native American culture also is prevalent throughout the building's design, including a floor-to-ceiling "Tree of Peace" structure at the main entrance, as well as an illuminated and animated electronic feather marquee atop the roof outdoors.
The partnerships with Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino extend beyond the facility's walls, as the Seneca Buffalo Creek development advisory committee awarded $1 million last year to support 17 organizations, businesses and community groups with community development, beautification, lighting, infrastructure and other improvement projects in the neighborhood surrounding the nine-acre Buffalo Creek Territory.
"Partnerships were essential to the success of this project," said Cathy Walker, Seneca Gaming Corp. president and CEO. "The development of the new Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino has been one of the most anticipated projects in Buffalo's recent history, and we are excited by what the future holds."
Hnedak Bobo Group, a nationally recognized leader in casino design, served as the principal architect for the facility, and construction was managed by Seneca Construction Management Corp. Construction lasted approximately 13 months, with work completed almost two months ahead of schedule. The project produced a total of 600 construction-period jobs, including 300 direct construction jobs and additional jobs related to the production of materials and other services related to the development.
Approximately 500 direct jobs have been created by the casino operation, with almost 45 percent of those positions being filled by Buffalo residents. Furthermore, Seneca Gaming Corp. projects that $170 million in direct and indirect spending with local companies will result from the procurement of goods and services for the new facility. All three Seneca-owned casinos spend more than $100 million combined annually with local vendors and suppliers of all sizes, supporting thousands of additional jobs and expanding its economic reach deep into the Western New York community.
In addition, Seneca Gaming Corp. held a series of vendor fairs throughout 2012 to help foster new and ongoing local vendor partnerships. The fairs gave local companies of all sizes the opportunity to introduce their products and services to the corporation and to learn about upcoming business opportunities. Many of the partnerships built throughout the fairs led to direct work with Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino - including some of the food vendor partnerships for the casino's restaurants.
Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino is located at 1 Fulton St., near the intersection of Michigan and Perry streets, and in between exits 5 and 6 of Interstate 190. It is within walking distance of other major waterfront developments, such as Canalside and HARBORcenter. To learn more about Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, call 1-877-8-SENECA (1-877-873-6322) or visit www.senecabuffalocreekcasino.com.