Penn National lays out more casino plans at red carpet event - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Penn National lays out more casino plans at red carpet event

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Penn National Gaming laid out more of their plans for a Springfield North End casino at a red carpet event Thursday night.

Hundreds packed the historic Paramount Theater to hear the details.

Penn National wants to use 13 acres of land in the north end to create their proposed $807 million Hollywood resort casino.

"This ripple effect starts with the relocation of Peter Pan's 140 employees to 31 Elm St., breathing life into a historic building in the South End," said President and COO of Penn National Timothy Wilmott.

Penn National took a packed audience on a virtual tour of their proposed casino, a tour that took them down Main Street, stretching from the South End through the downtown and incorporating local businesses.

"An $800 million investment in our downtown, with a rippling effect all along Main Street allows us to come back, a renaissance of our greatness," said Peter Picknelly, owner of Peter Pan Bus Lines and partner in the casino.

Rudi Scherff, owner of The Fort and newly announced restaurant partner with Penn National, believes that it could bring in more patrons.

"Our restaurant has been around for 77 years, we want to keep it for another 77 and I think this casino plan could be the way to do that," Scherff said.

Other local partners include Yankee Candle and Dunkin' Donuts.

Former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie also has plans to open a sports bar there.

Penn National also plans to incorporate the historic Paramount Theater.

"The ripple washes further down Main Street to a rejuvenated Paramount Theater directly connected to the Hollywood casino," Wilmott said.

"We want to rehab this whole area, we want more lights and everything else. We want restaurants, we want housing for young working professionals," said owner of the Paramount Herbie Flores.

The 13-acre resort would require Peter Pan bus lines to move to Union Station, which would be connected to the resort with a sky bridge.

If Penn is chosen, they also have an agreement to buy the Springfield Republican offices. The presses would be moved to a brand new building off Interstate 291, while the offices would be downtown, creating an interactive town square.

"The wave culminates at the front doors of Hollywood Hotel and Casino Springfield, where visitors far and wide will walk through the front doors - the City of Firsts' newest attraction," Wilmott said.

Last week Penn National announced they've paid the $250,000 to the city and $400,000 to the state gaming commission needed to apply.

MGM Resorts International is also interested in Springfield. They are proposing a casino in the city's South End.

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