Pittsburgh Casino Checks In With $60M Hotel

Rush Street Gaming will break ground on the 219-key project this summer, effectively laying the groundwork for the property to become a full-service gaming resort destination.
The Landing Hotel Pittsburgh. Image courtesy of Rivers Casino Pittsburgh

Rivers Casino Pittsburgh will finally get a hotel. Rush Street Gaming just announced that it will break ground later this summer on the $60 million The Landing Hotel Pittsburgh, a 219-key, four-star hotel that will transform the gaming property into a full-service casino-resort destination.

Rivers opened along the Ohio River’s North Shore as Pittsburgh’s first and only casino in 2009. The property, home to 120,000 square feet of casino floor, restaurants and a new event center, has been faring relatively well as of late. “The Pittsburgh casino submarket declined each year from 2011 to 2017, struggling against growing competition in the region. The Pittsburgh submarket grew 1.8 percent in 2018, however, driven by a strong year at Rivers,” Brent Pirosch, director of gaming consulting with CBRE’s Global Gaming Group, told Commercial Property Executive.

Adding a lodging segment to Rivers Casino has always been part of the vision for the property. Plans for a hotel took a major move forward in 2017, when the Pittsburgh Planning Commission approved the project, but gaming legislation forced the endeavor onto the backburner. Now, Rush Street needs only the approval from the local zoning and planning departments before it can commence development of the seven-story hotel. Designed by architectural firm VOA, the hotel will be the second Landing Hotel-branded property; the first opened at Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady in Schenectady, N.Y., in 2017. Rush Street has tapped Massaro Construction Group to serve as general contractor for the Pittsburgh development.

The lodging factor

Rush Street’s investment in the hotel at Rivers appears to be a wise move. “We believe casinos, in general, benefit from having a hotel for several reasons,” Pirosch said. “Having a hotel allows a casino to accommodate guests from outside the local market since a hotel room can be used as an incentive to reward valuable players, and the hotel may be a profit center irrespective of the casino operations. Our research has shown that casino revenue often benefits from the addition of a hotel, assuming it is appropriate to the overall market and property.”

A bevy of casinos are hopping on the hotel-bandwagon. Soboba Casino in San Jacinto, Calif., in the Palm Springs area, reopened earlier this year as the Soboba Casino Resort in a new location featuring the addition of a 200-key hotel and more casino square footage. Century-old Oaklawn Racing & Gaming in Hot Springs, Ark., recently changed its name to Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in anticipation of an expansion project that will produce a 200-key hotel. Live! Casino in suburban Baltimore became Live! Casino & Hotel in 2018 with the opening of the flagship 310-key Live! Hotel. The Landing Hotel at Rivers Casino Pittsburgh is on schedule to open in early 2021.