SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – MGM recently announced plans to get rid of its planned 25-story glass hotel tower, and now the casino company has filed a plan to reduce the square footage of its project altogether. Planning reductions in size of its retail, hotel, parking, and operational space, MGM is now planning for a 759,157 square foot facility- down from the originally planned 881,691 square feet- a reduction of about 14% of the total size of the project.
Springfield’s mayor, however, says that under the host community agreement between MGM and the city, any changes to square footage that could affect jobs or revenue cannot be made without his approval. Mayor Domenic Sarno said Tuesday that he will not give his approval to anything that would have a negative impact on either.
According to paperwork filed by MGM with the Massachusetts Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs, MGM wants to reduce the amount of retail space in their proposed South End casino by about 26,800 square feet. This figure includes a reduction of square feet in the bowling alley, and a 10,400 square foot reduction in the size of the cinemas planned for the site.
There will also be a large decrease in “back-of-the-house” space for resort operations- reducing that by about 68,000 square feet. MGM says that this space is now needed to accommodate the hotel, which has been moved to a site that was originally supposed to include apartments. That hotel relocation means a loss of 25,490 square feet.
MGM also additionally seeking a reduction in parking space, with its garage reduced in size by one level, to now be seven stories. This will result in the loss of some 387 parking spaces.
Under the plan, total gaming space changes very little, with a reduction of 439 square feet from the casino floor.
Reacting to the changes during a news conference at City Hall Tuesday afternoon, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said that MGM had not communicated with him about the reduction in square footage, saying it was “Incomprehensible that MGM failed to mention any other changes besides the hotel situation.
Springfield Chief Economic Development Officer Kevin Kennedy said that the city is most concerned about the loss of retail space. He said that any loss of space that generates revenue would cause great concern to them.
MGM Springfield President Mike Mathis told 22News that while 14% seems like a lot of square footage, the majority of what they’re getting rid of, the public wouldn’t notice.
22News asked if this was all about money and if MGM planned to keep downsizing to save some money. Mathis said, “We’re going to spend $800 million and then some including in that category, we will not need any relief from that threshold. We are totally comfortable with that threshold and we will be delivering an $800 million plus project even with these changes.”
Mathis said to expect more design changes to the project, but none are currently in the works.