Mohegan to end lease on Palmer land, official says

Unclear what will be done with property off Route 32

Artist's rendering of the once-proposed Mohegan Sun resort casino in Palmer. The proposal was rejected by town voters in a November 2013 vote.

PALMER, Mass. (WWLP) –  It looks like Mohegan Sun is cutting all ties with the town of Palmer. Town Manager Charles Blanchard told the 22News I-Team that he received a call from Mohegan’s advisor Gary Luderitz Monday morning to let him know Mohegan is terminating its lease on the property in town where they had wanted to build a casino.

The land, located off Route 32 near Mass Pike Exit 8, is owned by Northeast Realty.

Blanchard told the I-Team that the move is confirmation Mohegan has no plans to build on that land.  He said the property is privately owned, and there’s not a lot the town can do about it, but they would like to see it developed at some point.

Mohegan Sun was the first of what became several major gaming companies to propose a resort casino in Massachusetts. They had shown interest in building in Palmer before casino gambling was even legalized in Massachusetts. Their proposal, however, was rejected by Palmer voters in a November vote. Mohegan is now proposing a resort casino at Suffolk Downs in Revere.

Northeast Realty is currently suing Mohegan Sun, claiming that the gaming company violated its exclusivity agreement by negotiating with Suffolk Downs. In a statement sent to 22News Monday by their public relations firm, Paul Robbins Associates, Northeast said that the end to the lease was not unexpected.

“The termination of the lease comes as no surprise and confirms Northeast’s position that Mohegan Sun never intended to legitimately pursue non-gaming development at the Palmer site, as they stated publicly after the November 2013 referendum.,” the statement read.

Northeast says that they will look for interested developers for the site over the next 90 days.

Below is a statement from Mohegan Sun regarding the Palmer lease:

“This past February, Mohegan Sun retained CBRE/Grossman Retail Advisors LLC to complete a study of development options for 152 acres of land in Palmer. As part of the process, CBRE-Grossman Retail Advisors interviewed retailers, supermarket and entertainment users to assess the level of market interest in the site. Based on that analysis and other important factors – including the physical challenges associated with the site and the terms of an agreement that had only contemplated gaming uses – we have made the determination that the most prudent course of action at this time is to terminate our lease on the property.”

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