BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - Seneca Gaming Corp. officials are predicting that the permanent Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino building could be open by late summer.
Jim Wise, Seneca Gaming senior vice president of marketing, said the pre-Labor Day opening of the $133 million, 65,000-square-foot South Park Avenue casino is a very real target date. If that holds true, the casino will open about one month ahead of schedule.
"The construction is going along very well," Wise said. "Opening before Labor Day is becoming a very real possibility. We've made terrific strides. If this pace continues, we will open earlier than expected."
Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, operated on nine acres of sovereign territory just a few blocks from First Niagara Center and the Canalside District, opened a temporary facility in July 2007. Construction on a permanent facility briefly started in 2008 but stopped that summer because of economic conditions.
A revamped casino, one with a focus solely on gaming and dropped plans for a 300-room hotel and entertainment center, restarted construction last summer.
Once completed, the permanent Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino will host 800 slot machines and 16 table games. Its main restaurant will feature many locally made food items like those from Charlie the Butcher, Ilio DiPaolo's and EM Chrusicki Bakery.
Officials said the permanent casino will employ approximately 500 people with an annual payroll of more than $52 million.
The casino, which attracts 800,000 patrons annually, is expected to see that number balloon to 3 million yearly visitors once the permanent facility opens.
By comparison, Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel in Salamanca attracts approximately 3 million annual visitors.
Once the permanent facility opens, the temporary casino will be razed and that space will be used for green space landscaping and some parking.
Seneca Buffalo Creek is one of several construction projects underway by Seneca Gaming. In the past year, Seneca Gaming has added a 202-room addition to Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel while renovating most of the 604 hotel rooms at Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel and rebuilding the popular Thunder Falls Buffet in Niagara Falls.