Buffalo’s economic development revival is spurring a $40 million expansion of the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino that will see the size of the two-year-old downtown gaming venue grow by more than 42 percent.

Seneca Nation of Indians and Seneca Gaming Corp. leaders on Friday confirmed the 28,500-square-foot expansion will begin this fall and when completed will increase the footprint of the South Park Avenue casino to 95,500-square-feet.

When completed in early 2017, the expanded casino will create at least 300 new jobs and see the number of slot machines go from approximately 800 to nearly 1,200, a 45 percent increase.

It marks a significant change from the interim Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino that first opened its doors in July 2007. “Eight years ago, the Seneca Nation invested in our Buffalo Creek territory when little else was taking place around us to draw people to the Inner Harbor area of downtown Buffalo,” said Maurice John Sr., Seneca Nation president. “An unprecedented wave of development momentum, investment and growth followed.”

The two-story addition, set for the west side of the casino and stretching toward South Park Avenue, will add 10 more table games, a “high-limit” room, designated non-smoking areas, a small performance stage for live entertainment at the Stixx Sports Bar and bring a Western Door Steakhouse on to the site. Western Door Steakhouse is one of the most popular restaurants at Seneca Gaming’s Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino and Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino.

Since Seneca Buffalo Creek opened, the nearby Cobblestone District has emerged with its collection of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. It has helped spur other nearby developments like last year’s opening of Ballyhoo’s — located across from the casino on South Park, and the debut of the Buffalo RiverWorks sports and entertainment complex.

“Economic revitalization occurs when your business leaders have an active and vested interest in the region,” said Barry Snyder Sr., chairman of Seneca Gaming Corp.

The decision to move forward with the expansion was officially approved by the Seneca Nation Council late Friday morning and comes almost two years to the day when Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino opened. The timing had as much to do with economic conditions as historical dates.

“Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino has been extremely popular from the day we opened the doors,” said Audrey Oswell, Seneca Gaming chief operating officer. The casino attracts more than 3 million customers annually.

Memphis-based Hnedak Bobo Group, which designed Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, also has drawn up the expanded wing. Seneca Construction Management Corp. will serve as the construction manager.

See original article in Buffalo Business First