The Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegan tribes received permission from Connecticut legislators to develop a third casino in the state to compete with the $950 million MGM Springfield in neighboring Massachusetts. The tribes formed a joint venture called MMCT to develop the third casino and were considering three possible locations for the new casino which are Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Hartford and East Hartford.
The East Hartford location is beginning to look a lot more attractive after reports emerged that there could be a possible collaboration between the tribes and Inner Circle US, the owners of the Radisson hotel. The Radisson which was the former Crown Plaza is very much isolated from downtown due to the I-84 and has found it hard over the years to fill its hotel rooms consistently. Casinos in general tend to have a hotel attached so that their patrons have the option of staying overnight and hence the Radisson – MMCT partnership could make East Hartford an attractive location.
The potential partnership will allow MMCT to use the Radisson as a convention host hotel as it will be located four miles away from the casino and shuttles will be operated to ply guests to and fro. The casino would be able to host conventions as it can also benefit from nearly 9,000 square feet of meeting space which includes a 4,300-square-foot ballroom at the Radisson. The Radisson will also benefit from the possible tribal branding on the hotel, massive LED signs that rise 18 storey’s and a rooftop bar that overlooks East Hartford’s minor league baseball stadium which is yet to be completed.
As of now there is no specific information regarding the cost for the hotel project and who will finance it. The partnership’s managing member and Glastonbury consultant Anthony J. Ravosa believes that this potential partnership could also act as a catalyst for the different phases of the delayed Downtown North development which is not very far from the casino site.
In a statement, Ravosa said “We’re confident that our casino proposal for East Hartford, coupled with such linkage plans to include Hartford, can and will provide the spark needed for additional economic investment and growth in both communities”.
The Downtown North area once consisted of just barren parking lots but is expected to be transformed as a number of phased project developments are in the pipeline include the minor league baseball stadium, multiple apartment complexes, restaurants and retail outlets. The Radisson is not sure how quickly these phased projects will be implemented in Downtown North but have started converting their top 9 floors into rentals, which will reduce their hotel rooms from 388 to 188.
Inner Circle US board member Mark Hall stated that discussions between the Radisson and Ravosa had been going on for close to twelve months and that the board was happy to sign a deal with MMCT should they decide to use the hotel.