The MGM Springfield has been granted approval from the Springfield, Massachusetts historical commission for its revamped hotel design and location.

Citing “skyrocketing” construction costs, last month MGM Resorts submitted a proposal to city officials that included plans to change the casino’s 25-story hotel tower to a six-story low rise while maintaining the original number of rooms. Included in the plans, the relocation will move the hotel to Main Street at Howard Street, where the apartments were previously located, from its original plan on 73 State Street. Those relocation plans as well as the ongoing historical preservation issues were resolved in Thursday’s meeting when the commission and the MGM agreed the changes would not adversely affect the areas historic buildings or features. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission, the city council and Springfield’s Mayor, Domenic Sarno, will still need to approve the changes. Last month the latter said that he believed the redesign would be a better fit architecturally in the historic downtown area, and offer increased walkability.

MGM Springfield’s overall impact on the city and the state are subjects of a review conducted by researchers from Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) a University of Massachusetts Amherst group. Findings of the review will be presented at an October 27 forum. Co- sponsors of the forum organized by the nonprofit Partners for a Healthier Community include the UMass School of Public Health and Health Sciences, Baystate Health, and the Springfield Department of Health and Human Services. Nearly 60% of Massachusetts residents were of the opinion that a “neutral, beneficial, or very beneficial” effect on the state would result from expanding the local gambling industry, according to a former study conducted by the group.

Considered to be the largest private development in generations for the western portion of the state and what should be the first resort casino in Massachusetts, the project has been delayed to late 2018 mainly due to a highway project going on in the area. In addition, the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes of neighboring Connecticut, who run competing casinos and have been business rivals for two decades, have joined forces in an unprecedented collaboration in an attempt to dissuade the state’s gamblers from crossing the Connecticut River to gamble at the MGM Resorts’ planned $800 million casino.

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