The former Zanetti school and the Old Armory, both damaged by the 2011 tornado, will soon see a transformation after the Springfield City Council authorized the sale of the buildings Monday night to MGM Springfield.
"And that sale is not contingent upon them getting the license," City Solicitor Ed Pikula said. "They are going to own it whether they get a license or not."
These properties were put out to bid by the city and MGM bid on them in December for $3.6 million. MGM also agreed to make a large payment to the city in lieu of taxes.
"So what that means is that even though no taxes are owed, they are going to pay taxes for the time that they've been a preferred developer and the city has owned it all the way back to 2013," Pikula explained, adding that that amounts to more than $160,000, in addition to the purchase price.
"It's indicative to the commitment that MGM has made to the city and to the partnership they have formulated not only with the business community and residents but also with the elected officials," City Councilor At Large Timothy Rooke says.
MGM will sign on these properties at the end of July.
"There aren't too many people that would spend over a million dollars when they don't have the license that they need to operate from the state or from the voters yet," Rooke said.
The construction plans call for the facade of the armory to be preserved and the school to be demolished, but the fate of these buildings depend on November's vote.
MGM Springfield says they are confident and optimistic about the future of the casino, but if it is voted down in November, they'll "cross that bridge when they get there."
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