Scaled-down casino can now move forward in Springfield, Mass.

It took a year, but the state’s gaming commission finally signs off on a $950 million proposal.

December 21, 2015 |
Scaled-down casino can now move forward in Springfield, Mass.

Rendering courtesy City of Springfield

The five-member Massachusetts Gaming Commission gave its unanimous consent for a final state license that allows MGM Resorts International to start demolition and construction for its proposed casino and entertainment facility in Springfield, Mass.

This $950 million, 14.5-acre project—which the developer and Commission had been wrangling over for a year—was approved after the Commission determined MGM had taken sufficient steps to minimize this project’s environmental impact. That included reducing the size of the casino from its original plan as a 25-story tower to its current low-rise proposal for six stories. The developer also reduced the building’s square footage by nearly 14% to 759,157 sf. A proposed apartment complex will be moved outside of the development’s site. 

All these changes led to a $150 million increase in this project’s costs, according to Masslive.com. What those extra dollars will pay for was not disclosed.

At a later date, the Commission will vote on the casino’s proposed design. Masslive.com reports that the project now includes extensive landscaping and a new stormwater management system.

Among the buildings expected to be demolished is the Howard St. Primary School, which was damaged in a 2011 tornado; and a boarding house on Bliss St. The original plan would have meant the demolition of the United Electric Building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Based on the project’s impact, eight cities and towns, including Chicopee and Holyoke, and Agawam, East Longmeadow, Longmeadow, Ludlow, West Springfield and Wilbraham, are among those eligible for mitigation.

The Springfield casino is slated to open sometime in 2018.

Unrelated to the casino project but hovering in the background was the news that one of MGM Springfield’s contractors, Tishman Construction, will pay more than $20 million in penalties and restitution after admitting that it had defrauded clients of more than $5 million in the years 1999 and 2009. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York hit Tishman with federal fraud charges on Dec. 10.

World Casino News also reports that the Commission recently opened a discussion regarding an update on the casino license for the Region C casino license and the tribal compact for the Masspee Wampanoag Indian Tribe and Mass Gaming and Entertainment’s $677 million casino in Brockton, Mass. The U.S. Department of the Interior approved land-into-trust applications for the transfer of approximately 151 acres of land in East Taunton and 170 acres in Mashpee for the tribe back in September.

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