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Seneca Nation unveils Buffalo Creek casino design

A rendering of the future casino site. Courtesy Seneca Nation of Indians

The Seneca Nation of Indians and Seneca Gaming Corp. Tuesday unveiled a re-designed $130 million Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino on the Nation’s 9.5 acre territory in Buffalo.

The project, due to finish in mid-2013, is expected to provide approximately 600 construction jobs. The completed casino will need to fill 500 jobs, including inside jobs and others related to the operation, with a multiplier effect that will create another 500 jobs over time, according to the Nation.

“This new casino will be a national design leader for casinos in urban settings,” said Nation President Robert Odawi Porter. “Our investment in this facility is our stake in our partnership with Buffalo’s Inner Harbor, the rejuvenation of the Perry Choice Neighborhood, and growth in the Old First Ward and along the Buffalo River. We are all in this together and we will succeed through collaboration.”

When complete, the new casino will replace the current, slots-only casino that opened on the territory in 2007. The new design features a main, stone-faced building containing slots, table games and a small, American-style restaurant and bar facility.

A four-story parking structure will be built behind the casino. Earlier this year, Seneca Gaming Corp. announced it hired the Hnedak Bobo Group, an award-winning Memphis-based design firm, to create the new vision.              

Preparation for the new casino began Monday, as workers started dismantling the steel frame erected as part of the now-revised plans for the original casino. Work on the original project was suspended in 2008 as the economy began to soften. The dismantling process is expected to take five to six weeks, with about 340 tons of the steel being re-used for the new casino. Seneca officials expect to start construction of the new casino this summer.

Opened in 2007, the current temporary Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino underwent two expansion projects, in 2008 and 2010. The property now features 457 slot machines and attracts more than 750,000 visitors a year, making it one of downtown Buffalo’s most popular destinations.

The new casino blends the gaming attractions with development efforts planned for the Inner Harbor area.

Seneca Gaming and the Seneca Nation are also helping to redefine the neighborhoods surrounding the Buffalo Creek Territory with $1 million in grants to boost infrastructure, landscaping, lighting and signage in areas around the casino. Applications for grants for those improvements are due March 31 and awards are expected to be announced in late April.