Before a room full of community business and civic leaders, Saratoga Casino and Raceway executives unveiled plans for a $30 million expansion project Tuesday, which include a hotel, spa, pool, upscale restaurant and events center.
“You’re all here today to hear what’s next,” Saratoga Casino and Raceway Board Secretary James Featherstonehaugh said as he presented the plan. “Our next step is to turn ourselves into an international tourist resort.”
“Certainly when you’re looking at over $30 million in capital expenditure investment in our community, it’s big,” Saratoga Springs Mayor Scott Johnson said following the investment.
Once complete, the expansion will create 260 new full and part time jobs.
It comes as state lawmakers are considering a constitutional amendment to legalize casino gambling in New York, which could open the door to build one of three upstate casinos in Saratoga Springs.
“I’m looking for Saratoga to be selected as a location,” State Senator Kathy Marchione said. “I think it’s really the only choice, I think it’s the best choice.”
“The big thing is ‘if,’” Mayor Johnson said. “If it comes to New York State, certainly Saratoga should be part of that equation.”
Company executives say the expansion will move forward regardless of whether the amendment passes or if Saratoga is chosen as a casino site or not, but many are hopeful the new project will be enough to sway the Governor in the Spa City’s favor.
“I do believe we do need transparency. We do need to know where the sites are going to be,” Marchione said.
“Do I think this positions us to bid on a regional casino if there is one and makes us in a better position? Sure I do, but I think we’re in a great position anyway,” Featherstonehaugh said.
Executives plan to break ground on the expansion this coming January and have it complete by late 2014 or early 2015.