SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – MGM’s announcement to reduce the size of their resort casino project in Springfield has come as unwelcome news to city leaders. City councilors and contractors told 22News they feel the city is being cheated out of what had been promised to them.
Since the casino’s ground breaking in March, MGM has altered its design dramatically. In September, MGM announced the removal of its 25 story glass tower. Now, they’ve announced plans to reduce the entire project by 14%. It’s a change that surprised city leaders, who met with President of MGM Resorts International William Hornbuckle just a few weeks ago.
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno told 22News he felt blindsided; “I find it incomprehensible the non-communication that occurred here.”
The city is now reviewing MGM’s preliminary site application for the proposed changes. “I have not, nor will okay anything that has a negative impact, especially on the jobs and revenue generation of this project,” says Sarno.
Kevin Kennedy, Chief Development Officer to the city of Springfield told 22News, “If it’s about jobs, or it’s about revenue, we’ve got real concerns. If it’s about elevator space, or stairwells and things like that, we’re willing to talk about it.”
MGM Springfield President Mike Mathis told 22News jobs won’t be cut, and the full 800 million dollar budget will be used.
However, because of the announcement to reduce the size of the project, local contractors told 22News they’re upset they wont be building the casino that voters voted for. Springfield resident Victor Fontinez said, “A lot of friends of mine were expecting to get a job here working with the construction and in the casino, so I don’t know what’s going to happen to us.”
Delayed construction plans have hurt contractors and laborers, said Jsaon Garand, of New England Regional Council of Carpenters. “This summer we were going to have hundreds of workers out here, starting to put up a tower and starting to put up a parking garage. And where are the workers?”
The city is asking MGM to provide a written statement explaining the reason and impact behind these proposed changes. If these changes are not approved by the city and state gaming commision, MGM will need to start over again.