MM4CT Casino”Request for Proposal” process changed week of deadline

22News discovered how the request for proposal process for a casino in Connecticut changed.

Artist's rendering of a proposed casino off Interstate 84 in East Hartford, Connecticut.

EAST HARTFORD, (Connecticut) – Five request for proposals have been submitted to host Connecticut’s third tribal casino.

Proposals had to be in by 4 p.m. Friday. We now know entities in East Hartford, East Windsor, Hartford and two in Windsor Locks made submissions.

Connecticut’s tribal casinos, Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods, have joined forces forming MM4CT to compete with the incoming MGM Springfield. Tribal officials say it’s necessary to protect jobs in Connecticut.

East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc said, “A great opportunity for us and we look forward to putting together our fully compliant and complete RFP.”

East Hartford’s preferred site is a 25 acre parcel off of Interstate 84 where the former Showcase Cinemas has been vacant for over a decade.  About 130,000 cars go by everyday.

Former Springfield City Councilor Tony Ravosa is the site developer.  Ravosa told 22NEWS,  “I know there’s other submissions going in today. I don’t think they carry a candle to what we’ve been able to achieve both with site and political support in the town.”

But just days before proposals were due, the proposal process was changed.  On November 2nd, Pearce Real Estate, the realty agency chosen to help in the MM4CT casino proposal process, posted on their frequently-asked-questions page.  The question was asked, “Will submission of a response from a property owner only be non-compliant?”  The answer; “MMCT Venture recognizes that the timing of municipal elections may not permit adequate consideration by a municipality of whether it wishes to respond to the RFP. Rather than extending the deadline for submission of responses to accommodate municipal elections, the Venture has determined to encourage responses, even if incomplete.”  You can click here for that web page.

It means a proposal could be made without communities or landowners signing off.

So, entities that have expressed interest, such as the Connecticut Airport Authority which wants to locate a casino at Bradley International Airport, could still do so even after the Windsor Locks Board of Selectmen rejected their previous proposal.

The Windsor Locks Board of Selectmen voted down the casino on October 27th.  The First Selectman at the time, Steven Wawruck (D) supported the proposal.  The two others, Dennis Gragnolati (R) and Michael Russo (R) voted against it.

With a change in town government there could be a better chance now to have a proposal accepted.  On Tuesday, November 6th, the town held elections, and the “no-voting” selectmen have changed.  Elected for First Selectman, democrat Chris Kervick and Selectwoman Michelle Hill, also a democrat.

The Connecticut Tribal Casinos are expected to make a decision by December 15th on a site that would serve 10,000 visitors a day.

Still for a third casino to open, the Connecticut Generally Assembly would have to pass legislation.

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