MGM unveils plans for western Mass. casino - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

MGM unveils plans for western Mass. casino

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MGM resorts and casinos have proposed an $800 million casino plan for downtown Springfield.

The company is the first in Western Massachusetts to put in their $400,000 bid application to the state's gaming commission.

"We can help revitalize downtown by knitting these already great assets you have together with something we think will also be great in and of itself," said MGM's Chairman and CEO Jim Murren.

For the first time, a packed audience at the MassMutual Center got to hear the plans from the company's top executives.

"What differentiates this is, here we are in downtown Springfield, we don't want to build an island someplace, we don't want to build a self-contained environment, Murren said. "What we are trying to do after listening to a lot of folks is to help revitalize."

The casino would be located along Interstate 91 between State and Union streets. It would incorporate 10 acres of land along a three-block radius in the city's downtown area.

The resort features would include 89,000 square feet of gaming, a 250-room hotel, and 70,000 square feet of shops and restaurants.

"If we are able to build this the way we think and the way we hope, we'll have between 30 and 40 retail and restaurant opportunities throughout the property and throughout the project," said MGM's Chief Marketing Officer Bill Hornbuckle. "Half of those, if not more, will go to local businesses."

One of the focal points to the presentation is that the company plans to tie in the city's existing landmarks and history to the project.

"If we do our job correctly, if we are fortunate enough to win the RFP, this will feel and be very uniquely Springfield," Murren said.

The casino would bring thousands of jobs to the area including at least 2,000 construction jobs.

In Western Mass there can only be one resort-style casino. In Springfield, Ameristar, Penn National Gaming and Hard Rock have all expressed interest. And, over in Palmer, Mohegan Sun has long been planning for a casino.

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