Transforming a Community at Rivers Casino and Resort

With plans to build one of the most transformational redevelopments throughout Upstate New York, Mohawk Harbor developers sought to create a vibrant mixed-use community featuring luxury living, high-tech offices, and upscale retail. Striving to enhance the community’s waterfront experience, the pedestrian-friendly development proposed outdoor seating, access for boating, and a direct link to a public trail system.

While the plans sounded impressive, these bold ambitions hinged on the successful permitting, licensure, and construction of phase one – the Rivers Casino and Resort Schenectady (one of the first casinos in New York State). The resort includes a 150,000 SF casino with outdoor patio space overlooking the Mohawk River, a six-story hotel with 165 guestrooms and suites, a four-story parking garage, various surface parking lots, and pedestrian amenities.

Facing an aggressive schedule driven by the state’s Gaming Commission, Bohler tackled design and permitting for the casino, hotel, and parking garage while coordinating extensively with the development team handling the remaining portions of Mohawk Harbor. Identifying opportunities to incorporate the community while saving time, Bohler’s creative solutions kept the project moving forward.

Identifying Time-Saving Solutions

To obtain proper licensing, the casino had to meet the Gaming Commission’s aggressive milestones for permitting and construction. With a creative phasing strategy, Bohler met the deadline by designing and permitting the project as one, but separating the pieces for construction, ensuring the casino project was pushed to the forefront.

Enhancing Community Connectivity

By involving the community on various levels, Bohler helped the project achieve LEED Silver certification, scoring perfectly in the community connectivity category on the application. The team identified the following opportunities for public benefits:

  • Expanding and enhancing a county trail along the waterfront
  • Offering ample bicycle storage near casino and hotel entrances
  • Providing more than eight acres of open space with trails and landscaping
  • Addressing traffic concerns by incorporating access and signage restrictions that limits circulation through neighborhoods
  • Incorporating fencing to screen neighbor views
  • Coordinating with the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) to incorporate a bus stop into the project, improving accessibility
The Landing Hotel at Rivers Casino and Resort

Transforming a Community at Rivers Casino and Resort

Integrating the Separate Projects

Since the casino and resort needed to integrate seamlessly into the overall Mohawk Harbor project, extensive coordination with the other development team was crucial. Collaborating on interrelated utilities, site work, and permitting efforts, Bohler also helped devise a solution to avoid a century old brick arch sewer running through the site. The fragile structure had to be avoided and monitored closely during construction to prevent damage.

Achieving Milestones for the Community

Through successful collaboration, both development teams worked to completely transform the old industrial site into a vibrant live, work, stay, and play community and created opportunities for public enjoyment of the waterfront. By implementing a creative permitting strategy, Bohler helped to ensure the casino met the Gaming Commission’s strict deadlines, obtaining licensure, and opening on time, which ultimately enabled the rest of the Mohawk Harbor project to move forward. Bohler’s coordination efforts and ability to maintain sight of the big picture ensured cohesive integration of the Rivers Casino and Resort into the overall development.

60 Acres
147K SF
165 Room Hotel

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