MGM president in Springfield, discuss casino project changes

Visit comes after company dropped plans for 25-story tower

The hotel will be located at Main and Howard Streets, seen here in this artist's rendering sent to 22News by MGM Springfield.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The President of MGM Resorts International will be in Springfield Monday for a meeting with Mayor Domenic Sarno. President William Hornbuckle’s visit comes just weeks after MGM announced major design changes to their proposed South End casino– including the elimination of a 25-story glass hotel tower. The proposal also includes moving 54 market-rate housing units outside the casino site.

The changes have generated a lot of debate, and even calls for a citywide referendum- which was deemed an impossibility. Some city councilors are questioning whether the project will still deliver on promises of 2,000 construction jobs, and other economic benefits.

Also this year, MGM asked the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for a one-year delay in their planned opening: moving it to September 28. The company has cited the ongoing Interstate 91 construction project as the reason for the delay.

Additionally, MGM is facing challenges from south of the state line in Connecticut. The Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes are moving forward with their plans for a third casino north of Hartford, designed to directly compete with MGM. They are now accepting proposals from communities interested in having the project sited there. MGM has filed suit against Connecticut, saying that the state law allowing the third casino did not provide for competitors to the two tribes to apply.

Hornbuckle’s visit to Springfield is scheduled to “reaffirm” the company’s commitment to building their Springfield casino.

22News reporter Kait Walsh spoke with with Hornbuckle and Sarno about where the project now stands.

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