A ceremonial groundbreaking was held Monday morning on the site of a future hotel at Batavia Downs Gaming, where business leaders are hailing Genesee County's growing tourism industry.
The $7.5 million dollar project led by ADK Hospitality, which has brought several partners into the investment, will create a four-story, 84-room hotel which complements the banquet hall, Fortune's Italian Restaurant and former Buffalo Bills star Thurman Thomas' '34 Rush' sports bar. Many of the rooms will overlook the race track, allowing guests to watch the harness racing happening below.
The track, owned by Off Track Betting, currently employs about 300 people. The new hotel, scheduled to open next May, is expected to create 50 more jobs.
"We pull from the east side of Buffalo, the eastern suburbs, the western suburbs of Rochester. We're right in the center, which is perfect," said Mike Nolan, vice president and chief operating officer for Batavia Downs.
The track, which was bought and reopened by OTB in the mid 1990s, is just one of a few economic developments being celebrated in Genesee County. Earlier this year, Darien Lake opened two new rides as officials hailed the county's strong tourism industry. More recently, Governor Andrew Cuomo was in the county to announce a $700 million investment to build a factory where silicon wafers will be manufactured for solar panels.
Business leaders in Buffalo are not only noticing, they're taking part in the development.
"Michael Kane, the president, and Mike Nolan, the vice president, have literally changed not only Batavia Downs Gaming and Batavia Downs Race Track but literally the whole community of Batavia," said Anthony Baynes, a partner with ADK Hospitality. "You're seeing that by the investment from us."
Baynes identified some of the partners involved in the investment, including Kent Frey of Frey Electric, David McNamara of Phillips Lytle LLP, Dr. Laszlo Mechtler of Dent Neurologic Institute, and Jim and John Basil of the Basil Family of Auto Dealerships.