The inner harbor area of downtown Buffalo witnessed an important event this week. The Seneca Nation has honored a promise to develop a casino and create new jobs in the City of Buffalo.
The temporary Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino is now open for business ahead of the Nation's December deadline. This development is certainly an important first step, but should be viewed as that -- a first step.
As we have previously stated, the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino alone will not be the "silver bullet" to keep our young people from leaving Western New York and bring back those friends and family members who have already left the area. When we purchased nine acres of land in an under-utilized area of downtown, we did so with a vision for being part of the solution to further develop the economy of the region, as we have started to do in Niagara Falls and Salamanca.
This week, we took our first steps in fulfilling our commitment to create new jobs and economic hope in the City of Buffalo. We hired the first 50 of our 1,000 casino employees, and invested the first $7 million of our planned $125 million capital investment. We expect the city to receive a revenue stream from our first six months of operation that will grow to approximately $5 million to $7 million annually once the permanent casino is open.
In addition, local companies will benefit from a company with a strong record of supporting the local economy -- Seneca Gaming Corp. spent more than $90 million with Western New York businesses in 2006. That is not to mention the presence of our 1,000 employees working at Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino who cannot, as a matter of company policy, use our facilities (restaurants, bars, etc.) after their shift.
Our commitment to and involvement in Buffalo's future extends beyond just Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino. We are committed to exploring other economic development opportunities in Buffalo. To this end, Seneca Gaming Corp. recently purchased a building across from Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino to support our operation. The purchase, which keeps the property on the tax rolls, will help expand the local tax base and underscores our commitment to investing in Buffalo's future.
Equally as important, city leaders have agreed to use part of the local revenue share on developing the area around us, thereby maximizing the impact of the dollars and creating an atmosphere around our entertainment facility that will help us attract tourists -- and tourism dollars -- to the area.
We are happy to take our first step in adding to this promising tide of economic development. We are committed to creating an economic vibrancy that provides an opportunity for our young people, friends and neighbors to live, work and raise their families in Western New York.
Barry E. Snyder Sr. and E. Brian Hansberry are chairman and president/CEO of Seneca Gaming Corp., respectively.