Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rivers Casino Plans to Add $50M Hotel but Workers Protest for Right to Unionize

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rivers Casino Plans to Add $50M Hotel but Workers Protest for Right to Unionize

Article excerpt

The newest amenity for Rivers Casino visitors might not be a fancy slot machine or a challenging table game but a 200- to 250- room hotel.

Casino officials unveiled plans for a $50 million hotel, to be built on the east side of the property near the Carnegie Science Center, during a state gaming control board hearing Tuesday on the renewal of its operating license.

The three-hour hearing at the Allegheny County Courthouse featured plenty of support for the license renewal from groups and organizations that have benefited from the North Shore venue, as well as a protest from more than a hundred workers and allies seeking to start a union at Rivers.

David Patent, president and chief operating officer of Rush Street Gaming LLC, the parent company of Rivers, said the casino has already been working with the city, the nonprofit Riverlife and the science center on plans for the hotel, which would overlook the Ohio River.

Under the "best case" scenario, it could break ground on the project in the first quarter of next year. The hotel and the casino would use the same valet entrance, and the two buildings would be connected.

The casino estimates the hotel would generate 105 permanent jobs, $29.2 million in additional gaming tax revenues, and $4.7 million in county hotel and sales tax revenue within five years of opening.

"This is a really big project for us. This is a $50 million project, and we couldn't be more excited to get it moving as soon as possible," Mr. Patent said.

Since opening in August 2009, the casino has been considering a possible hotel for the second phase of its development. It began studying the issue more closely last year because of intensifying competition from Ohio and other surrounding states.

During Tuesday's hearing, the casino stated it had generated $938. …

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