MGM eliminates 25-story hotel tower and apartments in redesigned Springfield casino

Industries Associated Press

MGM revealed new designs for its $800 million resort casino complex in downtown Springfield on Tuesday, eliminating a 25-story glass hotel tower and 54 apartment units.

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The redesigned plans, which were submitted to the city, move the hotel from the middle of the 14.5 acre complex to Main Street, where the apartments were located.

The company says the six-story hotel will still offer 250 rooms and also include retail spaces on the ground level. The housing units will be located somewhere outside the complex.

The redesign also shows changes to a plaza area, which will still feature a pub, bowling alley and movie theater, but in different locations.

MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis, in a letter to the city, said the plans won't reduce the expected $800 million project cost. He suggested the new design will spur new economic development downtown by encouraging more tourist and visitor traffic on Main Street.

"These proposed changes leave our original design largely untouched," he said.

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Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, in a statement, said the redesign offers "increased walkability" and a better architectural fit for the city's historic downtown.

The plans will be submitted for approval to the City Council and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which is meeting Thursday in Springfield.

The redesign is the latest twist for the development, which is hoping to become the state's first resort casino.

The project — billed as the largest private development in western Massachusetts in generations — has been delayed at least a year to September 2018, in large part because of a major highway project taking place nearby.

The Las Vegas casino giant is also suing Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy and other state leaders for approving a law that could pave the way for a third tribal casino to compete directly with MGM's planned facility, which is just minutes from the state line.

The company says in its lawsuit that it's interested in developing a casino in Connecticut, but the state's new law unfairly excludes private developers.

Plainridge Park, a harness racing track and slots parlor, opened in June in Plainville, Massachusetts. Wynn Resorts is also hoping to open a $1.7 billion Boston-area resort casino in 2018.