While a lot of progress has been made by construction crews in recent months, there are still some major decisions that need to be made by MGM Springfield, including where 54 market-rate housing apartments will be built.
22News was told by an MGM spokesman that they are still exploring their options. Being considered is 195 State Street, but it could take up to two more months for a final decision to be reached.
Another decision that has to be made by MGM Springfield is what to do with the First Spiritualist Church. In April, the church was relocated from Bliss Street to Union Street, but plans for it still haven’t been announced by MGM. In spite of all of the unknowns, many of the areas business owners are excited with the progress of the project. David Glantz, owner of Buckeye Brothers Smokeshop, said they lost a lot with the closing of Steiger Department Store, operated by Albert Steiger Co., a large chain of department stores in the Westfield, Holyoke and Springfield area. He said, “We lost a lot of major retailers and Tower Square was more like a ghost town. So we really didn’t have anything. So I’m excited about the casino a couple of years down the road,” according to wwlp.com.
Foundation work began on the 3,400 space, seven-level parking garage in May and last week demolition of the interior of 73 State Street began in preparation for the separating of the façade from the main building’s structure.
On May 16, during a meeting of the Armory Quadrangle Civic Association, MGM Springfield President Mike Mathis said the excitement and enthusiasm he heard when he met with downtown residents, echoes what he hears around the city. At the meeting, Mathis told residents that the project that is slated to open in September of 2018 remains on target, and that MGM’s commitments including the creation of 3,000 jobs remain intact.