Court Square Apartment deal at the “5 yard line”, MGM waiting

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – MGM Springfield’s plan for market-rate apartments may be changing. The 22News I-Team reveals why their original plan may be scrapped and its new one is waiting on approvals.

It’s a story the I-Team first broke in December that MGM may put some of its market-rate apartments in the old Court Square Hotel on Elm Street, across from Springfield City Hall. Now its plans for the old school department building at 195 State Street are unclear.

MGM has been considering putting all its apartments at the old Court Square Hotel.

MGM is contractually obligated to create 54 market-rate apartments in Springfield, through the cities Host Community Agreement.

MGM bought the old school department building in October 2015 for around $600,000. The plan was to put roughly 35 of their apartments in that building. At a gaming commission meeting in Springfield on Thursday, a representative for MGM Springfield admitted the market-rate apartments likely won’t be ready by the time MGM Springfield opens in 2018.

The Court Square hotel is owned by the Springfield Redevelopment Authority.

Before MGM can move forward with any plans at Court Square, the city has to reach a deal with preferred developer, Opal Real Estate. Opal is owned by Peter Picknelly.

Picknelly told the I-Team they are “very close” to getting a deal done with the city.  Using a football analogy, he said they were “at the 5 yard line moving towards the 1.”

Springfield chief development officer Kevin Kennedy told the I-Team he is optimistic of a deal and “it has to get done,” but the project has to first have a Memorandum of Understanding between the city and the developer.

Picknelly estimates rehabbing the building will cost $40 million and he needs grant money and tax credits to accomplish it. A MGM spokesperson would not say anything in addition to the comments they made at the gaming commission and wouldn’t speculate what they may do with the State Street building they now own, if the Court Square plan goes through.

Opal Real Estate is expected to update the Springfield Redevelopment Authority with its plans on Tuesday.

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