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Senecas begin construction of new Buffalo casino

Construction on a new, permanent Seneca Nation casino in downtown Buffalo is now underway.

The Senecas had originally planned a large-scale, $333 million casino/hotel complex for the site.  But when the recession hit in 2008, those plans were put on hold. 

Earlier this year, the tribe unveiled planned for a smaller facility that will occupy nearly ten acres, with a price tag of $130 million.  It will include a restaurant, a bar, and a four-level parking garage.

Credit Chris Caya/WBFO News
Crews begin work on the new permanent Buffalo casino.

Seneca Gaming Chairman Robert Mele points out with nearby projects like Canalside, people are rediscovering the downtown waterfront area.  

"As all of these projects come together,there will be even more to attract visitors and entertain them. We believe the new Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino will add to the energy and excitement of the new inner harbor area now taking shape," Mele said.

"I think right now, it's almost hitting the sweet spot in terms of how this project is going to fit so nicely into a beautiful re-design of this entire region of the city. The Webster Block, the Donovan Building, all the new projects that are happening are bringing more people into this area," said Seneca President Robert Odawi Porter.

A temporary, slot machine-only casino has been operating on Fulton Street since 2007. Tthe temporary casino has attracted more than 750,000 people annually since opening.

Seneca officials say with a couple of new hotels planned near Canalside, there is no need for one in the new casino.

The Senecas say the project will employ around 500 workers and create 600 construction jobs. The target opening date is late 2013. 

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