The machines are glowing, the floor is busy and the workers are in place. After nearly four years of delays and all kinds of political gamesmanship, SugarHouse is finally ready to debut the city’s first casino. The glitzy Delaware Avenue gaming parlor is expected to open Thursday. General Manager Wendy Hamilton talked to Metro about what she expects.
How does it feel to be this close to opening?
Every opening is so full of high energy, and this one, I would say is no different, but it probably is even more exciting. Because of the long road that we took to get here. The team is ready, the organization is ready ... we’re all kind of pinching ourselves, but we’re very busy so we don’t have much time to pinch ourselves.
How did you acknowledge the history of the city and community in the casino?
You see things like the Fishtown stacker ... on the menu. We are part of this community, and so in addition to working with folks in the community ... we did things like Jacks Restaurant ... that refers back to the Jack Frost Sugar Refinery where so many local residents had relatives who were employed for a long time.
WHAT WE SAW:
1. Design: Opponents called it a
windowless box and a slots barn, but the design is very contemporary
with large windows and nice views of the Delaware River. The LED lights
also provide a nice touch.
2. Walkway: Nearly a
three-quarters-mile long, the casino spent $4 million on a walking
trail that bends behind the casino. The trail has lights at night and
will be accessible to residents 24/7. The Refinery also provides
outdoor seating and a feature to open the wall.
The current surface parking lot is not visually appealing from Delaware
Avenue and may not be adequate in the early going when many will give
the place a look. Officials plan to begin work on a parking garage some
time after the opening.