Integrating an estimated $800 million casino into a historic district of a city established in 1636 is no mean feat – and it can’t happen without some disruption of daily life. MGM Springfield has 33 months to get the job done before they face fines for a delayed project, and are only slightly behind schedule for their remaining 30 month projection of a 2017 Grand Opening.
MGM Resorts International recently released a development timeline to Springfield city officials outlining their projections. They originally planned to break ground in December. However, permitting, evictions, demolition, and reclamation are daunting tasks. Most of the local denizens seem to be taking it all in stride, after all, the Host Community Agreement was approved by voters in July 2013 so they’ve had time to get used to it.
The 14.5 acres site is bounded by State Street on the North, Union Street on the South, Main Street on the East, and East Columbus Ave on the West. Sheriff assisted eviction proceedings have begun with notices for vacancy by February 28th. Eligible tenants will receive help to relocate in the form of $3 per square foot of current rental space if they relocate inside the city of Springfield and $4 per sq. ft. if they relocate inside the Downtown Springfield Business Improvement District.
Some historic buildings are to be demolished, while the facades of others will be kept for their aesthetic and historic value. To date, MGM has already acquired about $42 million worth of real estate.
At build-out the property will include a 250 room hotel over 25 floors, 7,000 square foot pool and spa, 35,000 sq. ft. garden and roof deck, 45, 000 sq ft of meeting and banquet space, 125,000 sq ft of gaming space, residential apartments, retail, restaurants and bars, and a 3,600 space covered parking area.
The dining, retail, and entertainment areas will include an outdoor stage offering free live entertainment, 20,000 sq ft bowling alley, a 50,000 sq ft cinema with 12 screens, casual and formal dining, and a wide variety of retailers.
MGM Springfield is among three casinos currently approved in the state with the deadline for the fourth fast approaching at January 30th. The four casinos were authorized by a law passed in 2011. Wynn Resorts will be opening a $1.6 billion project in Everett, just across the Mystic River from Boston. Penn National Gaming will open the slots parlor they were granted at Plainridge Park in June.