Gov. Baker reacts to MGM’s proposed design changes

MGM Springfield is proposing design plan changes that would remone the 25-story glass tower from the project

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)– Governor Charlie Baker told 22News that he’s hearing only positive feedback from city leaders about MGM’s design plan changes, and is basing his opinion on that.

“My view on this all along has been that the MGM proposal was a streetscape proposal, it wasn’t a completely self-contained facility- and that it would be a real sort of neighborhood of sorts that came with the facility,” Gov. Baker said.

Baker also told 22News he thinks MGM’s proposal will do a better job of delivering on that vision than what they originally proposed.

22News spoke to the governor at the Springfield’s iconic Student Prince Cafe, where he spent much of his morning Thursday on the local radio station WHYN.

MGM says the new design has the 250-room hotel sitting at the corner of Howard Street and Main Street. That change would eliminate the 25 story version of the hotel, which was to be built on State Street.

Peter Picknelly, Chairman of Peter Pan Bus Lines and owner of Opal Real Estate in Springfield, told 22News that he’s not surprised design changes are now in the works. He said that’s common with any major development project.

“If making the design changes make it more efficient, then that’s a good thing. I mean the worst issue you could have is build something isn’t efficient or doesn’t make economic sense,” Picknelly said.

The design change also includes moving 54 units of market-rate housing off the casino grounds (that housing was originally supposed to be in the building in which the hotel will now be located).

MGM is already in conversations with local property owners to develop that residential space.

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