Company: News

  • October 2012: Seneca Allegany Casino Tower Addition

    Commuters on nearby Interstate 86 can be assured they are not seeing double because yes, that is a second tower at the Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel and yes, there are rooms currently available in it.

    Fourteen months after plans were announced to restart the construction of a second tower to the resort hotel, project officials gathered Wednesday to celebrate four floors now open to guests. When the other four floors open as expected in mid-December, the $48 million project will have nearly doubled the capacity of the hotel from 212 to 413 rooms.

    The project, originally set with a price tag of $53 million, was completed both under budget and ahead of schedule, according to Seneca Gaming Corporation President and CEO Cathy Walker.

    "Thanks to the outstanding work of our construction partners and the help of some great winter weather, we are proud to announce that the project is being completed ahead of schedule and at $48 million; $5 million less than the budgeted amount," she said. Although the project is expected to be completed ahead of schedule this time around, the tower itself was built on the four-story steel skeleton of a tower from a stalled construction project in 2008.

    "In one year, it goes from four stories of steel to a completed tower," noted Robert Chamberlain, senior vice president of design and construction at Seneca Gaming.

    The need for additional room is simply supply and demand; Seneca Gaming officials said the resort's 212 rooms regularly achieved occupancy rates greater than 95 percent with many weekends being completely sold out.

    By nearly doubling the capacity of the hotel's casino, the new tower will also add more than 30 new full-time hotel jobs. Those are in addition to the more than 300 construction jobs created by the project, according to Seneca Gaming officials.

    "The opening of the new tower confirms SGC's role as a leader in tourism and in employment in Western New York," said Robert Mele, SGC chairman. Seneca Nation President Robert Odawi Porter joined several members of the Nation's Tribal Council on stage during a press conference celebrating the tower's unveiling. He noted the success of the Seneca Allegany Casino in relation to its role in the region, including the more than 3,700 workers the Seneca Gaming Corporation employs in Salamanca, Niagara Falls and Buffalo.

    "The growth and success of theSeneca Allegany Casino and Hotel and all of our gaming enterprises are indicative of the important and expanding role the Seneca Nation continues to play in the economy of Western New York, the Southern Tier Region and the surrounding area including Pennsylvania and Ohio," he said.

    "This casino and hotel property and the new tower we unveil today are the outward signs of the Seneca Nation's ability to succeed not only for our Nation but for our neighbors and partners as well."

    Not all the hoopla was about the brand new tower opened at the resort. The original tower, which opened in May 2007, received $1.2 million in renovations. Inside, the transition from the original tower to the new one is nearly seamless.

    Chamberlain told The Salamanca Press during an August tour of the construction the property has "four diamond rooms to begin with … so we don't want to mess with success. But we want to update things a little bit."

    On Wednesday, casino officials announced that floors three through six would be available for guests. The first two floors of the new structure will be used for warehouse and office space, and floors seven through 11 are expected to be open by mid-December, according to officials.

    The opening of the first four guest floors of the hotel came just in time for the Cattaraugus County's Largest Hunting Expo at the Seneca Allegany Events Center on Oct. 27 and 28. Musical concerts scheduled for November include Gary Allan, The Tragically Hip and a series of five performances by Brenda Lee.

    Standing at 413 rooms by the end of the year, the Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel will remain about 200 rooms smaller than its sister property in Niagara Falls. There, the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel boasts approximately 600 rooms.

    The new tower's opening comes 10 years since Seneca Gaming opened the Seneca Niagara Casino in 2002 and five years since the Seneca Allegany Casino first opened its doors.

    "The journey which the Seneca Nation embarked upon 10 years ago has lead us to this celebration," Porter said. "As part of that journey we know it would be important to develop a world-class enterprise not only in Niagara Falls but in 'O-hi-yo,' the Allegany Territory." Also in attendance at the event Wednesday were officials from JCJ Architecture and Seneca Construction Management Corporation, which were primary designers and constructors of the new tower.