MGM blames construction costs on removal of hotel tower

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Gone is the glass high-rise hotel tower, but is this a sign that MGM will be gone next?  The 22News I-Team gets answers as to why MGM is making major changes to its plans.

MGM Springfield President Mike Mathis said they only started talking about getting rid of the glass tower five or six weeks ago.  The change, announced Monday is being criticized.  Thursday, the 22News I-Team got answers.  We start with Why?

“It was partially driven by cost and the evaluation of construction costs which are skyrocketing,” said Mathis.

(Is MGM still 100% committed to Springfield?)

“100%, 110% we’re going to spend more than what we originally committed to and we’re getting to work right now,” said Mathis.

(Without the glass tower what are the total costs of the project now?)

“Again don’t have a total number we’re in the market getting estimates you heard my testimony today, it’s going to be $800 million plus,” said Mathis.

(Why was this glass tower a good idea for the last three years and now it’s not?)

“It’s not a matter of whether it’s a good idea or not a good idea, as I mentioned in front of the commission that would be our plan for the next phase of the project, but we just believe that this pays more homage to the Main Street feel and bringing people down and getting them engaged with those businesses and the plaza,” said Mathis.

(MGM is known for standing out, this kind of blends of in to the rest of the project, it’s non-MGM like, does it just come down to dollars and cents?)

“I disagree with that characterization, I think from the very beginning this is a really special design and not like anything that we’ve ever done and not like anything our other competitors have ever done,” said Mathis.

In June 2014 MGM provided documents to the Gaming Commission stating the glass hotel would cost $83 million.  Today, with rising costs, Mathis said the hotel would cost around $100 million.

MGM denied that Connecticut potentially adding a 3rd casino had anything to do with their decision.

MGM is still committed to spending $800 million on the entire project.

It appears they don’t want to spend much more than that.

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