By NICOLE ANTONUCCI
A Canada-based investment group anted up $1 million Wednesday to keep Montgomery County in the running as a potential site for a gaming casino off Thruway Exit 27.
Clairvest Group Inc. of Toronto submitted the required application fee to the state under the name of Florida Acquisition Group Corp., to move forward in obtaining a license to construct a casino on land in the town of Florida near the Amsterdam city line.
“We are excited about the development opportunity in Amsterdam,” said Clairvest’s investment adviser Peter Marcil of Bentley Associates in New York City.
Clairvest is among 22 entities interested in building one of four upstate casinos in the capital region, the Catskills, and the Southern Tier/Finger Lakes.
Montgomery County is one of six counties being considered for potential sites, but Clairvest is the only party to express interest in Montgomery County to date.
Clairvest could not be reached for comment.
Montgomery County Economic Development and Planning Director Kenneth Rose said he has been working with Marcil and Clairvest Group since January.
That is when Rose and real estate broker Mick Mullins began to advertise a pair of properties along Route 30 as a potential casino site. The properties comprise a 512-acre site with road frontage bordering the southern side of the state Thruway near Amsterdam’s Exit 27.
Marcil, who is originally from Amsterdam and was already working with Clairvest on another project, reached out to Rose.
“There is a number of compelling aspects to the site,” Marcil said, declining to give specifics. “It is still early. We are waiting for more information to come from the gaming commission in regard to minimum bid requirements, and other information around the bid process.”
Marcil could not provide a cost estimate for the potential casino, nor how much Clairvest was willing to invest. However, according to request for applications (RFA) which went out at the end of March, the minimum price of a gaming license for the capital region is $50 million.
Clairvest Group is no stranger to investing millions of dollars into a gaming facility.
According to the company website, within the past 10 years, Clairvest has invested in approximately seven casinos around the world, including a Chilean gaming facility, which involved three properties in Chile in 2007, and an $88 million project at the New Meadowland Racetrack in East Rutherford, N.J., in 2012.
Additional information regarding the application process will be forthcoming at a mandatory applicant conference Wednesday in Albany.
Applications are due June 30, after which they will be reviewed, and then weighted, with 70 percent based on economic activity and business development factors; 20 percent on local impact and siting factors, and 10 percent based on work force enhancement factors.
Another condition of filing an application with the state Gaming Commission’s casino siting board is to show local support. For Clairvest, that may not be an issue.
In Montgomery County, a multitude of towns and villages and the city of Amsterdam have passed resolutions in support of a casino, based on anticipated positive economic and fiscal benefits.
The proposal is also garnering support from neighbors in Fulton County. The board of supervisors there passed a resolution in favor of the Montgomery site.
State Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, D-Duanesburg, said having a casino in the area is a benefit because it means more jobs and economic growth.
However, she said potential issues could arise with roads, water and sewer, and questions have yet to be answered on the impact to the community.
“It is really important for local communities to be working with the casino developers to make sure that if it does come here in Montgomery County, that it fits, and any issues regarding infrastructure are dealt with so it can be supported,” she said.
Rose said that the proximity of the proposed site to Amsterdam and the town of Florida should alleviate some of those concerns.
“We always felt that the area around Exit 27 is an extremely attractive location for a variety of uses,” Rose said. “Infrastructure is key, and everything is close to what we are talking about.”
While only one county in the capital region will be issued a license, surrounding counties are expected to get revenues from the site.
Under the Upstate New York Gaming Economic Development Act, all regions will receive allocation for additional school aid under property tax relief and local government aid.
The capital region’s share is estimated at $35 million with $12.7 million for education and tax relief, and $22.8 in new aid to counties and local governments.
In Montgomery County, that share could total $1,465,092, with $918,148 in school aid/property tax relief, and another $546,944 in county distribution.
There is an estimated 10,000 jobs that could be generated, according to the Gaming Commission website.
The website also provides information regarding the application criteria. Details that must be submitted include facility locations, types and number of games, whether the facility is part of a regional or local economic plan, an audit report of all financial activities and interest, documents to prove financial stability and business ability, designs for the proposed facility, the construction timeline and the number of potential employees with details on pay rate and benefits.
Applications must also include studies and reports that detail economic benefits to the region; local and regional impacts on traffic, environment and infrastructure; impacts on economy and small business; costs to the host municipality, surrounding municipalities and the state; and the estimated state tax revenue to be generated.
Rose said that once the developer submits an application, there will be a public announcement, and plans will be unveiled.
Selections for the casino licenses are expected to be made in the fall.
New York voters in November passed a state constitutional amendment to allow Las Vegas-style casinos beyond Indian land.
Application fees have been received from the following entities:
1. Caesars Entertainment
2. Capital Region Gaming, LLC
3. Concord Kiamesha LLC and Mohegan Gaming New York LLC by DelBello Donnellan Weingarten
Wise & Wiederkehr LLP
4. CRCR Enterprises, LLC by The Cordish Companies
5. Empire Resorts
6. Florida Acquisition Corp by Clairvest
7. Greenetrack , Inc.
8. Grossinger Development Corporation
9. Howe Caves Development LLC
10. Hudson Valley Gaming, LLC
11. Nevele-R, LLC by Nevele Resort, Casino & Spa
12. NYS Funding, LLC by Och-Ziff Real Estate
13. OCCR Enterprises, LLC by The Cordish Companies
14. PNK Development 33, LLC by Pinnacle Entertainment
15. Rolling Hills Entertainment LLC by Baker Botts LLP
16. RW Orange County LLC by Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
17. Saratoga Harness Racing Inc. (I)
18. Saratoga Harness Racing Inc. (II)
19. Tioga Downs Racetrack LLC
20. Trading Cove New York, LLC
21. Traditions Resort & Casino
22. Wilmot Casino & Resort by Wilmorite, Inc.