The MGM Springfield casino project in Massachusetts has faced a lot of setbacks during the past couple of months as MGM Resorts officials and state legislators held a number of meetings over the proposed changes to the original design. All those obstacles appear to be finally behind, as the state gaming regulators sanctioned all the necessary zoning permits for the $950 million casino project.
MGM Springfield now has an official green light from the Springfield City Council to proceed with the construction phase of the project and casino officials expect work to start during the early part of the 2016. The state gaming commission has given approval for a zoning overlay that allows MGM Springfield to proceed with the demolition of existing buildings and has also provided clarity on the boundaries that surround the three square block area.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission had no concerns in sanctioning the zoning permit and approving MGM Springfield’s plans to deal with the environmental impact of the casino as members made a unanimous 11-0 decision in favour of MGM Springfield. However state gaming regulators made it clear that while they had no concerns in approving zoning permits, they were still sceptical about the significant reductions MGM Springfield had made to its original casino proposal.
In a statement, Mike Fenton, Springfield City Council President said “What today was about was showing that MGM and the city are excited about moving forward with the downtown casino. It does not bind us in anyway, shape, or form to one particular design or another. The disagreement remains over what that casino looks like. I favor the design and bill of goods we were sold three years ago and the people voted on”.
MGM Springfield can go ahead with demolition of the existing buildings and bring in construction materials but it will still need further approval to proceed with constructing new buildings. Fenton has plans to schedule a number of meetings in January 2016 to review the project site plan, changes to Springfield’s hosting community agreement with MGM and the streets in the casino zone that will have to be closed permanently.
MGM will work over as many as 19 buildings, some of which will be demolished, in the casino zone and City Councilor Kenneth Shea believes that when the local community see the demolition work in progress it will give them and city officials more confidence that MGM is fully committed to the city of Springfield. MGM will construct a casino, a hotel and a parking garage that will provide space for around 3,000 cars.