As MGM Springfield, the $960-million casino resort in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts, is now operational, owner MGM Resorts International is reportedly looking at options to commit to a previously announced project for off-site housing.
The Las Vegas gaming and hospitality giant had previously said that it would add housing as part of its larger integrated resort project in the city. However, it introduced a redesign of the property that did not include on-site housing options. MGM said that the housing portion of the project would be materialized at a new site. Its commitment involved the construction of up to 54 market-rate apartment units in the central part of Springfield.
The gambling company is now facing a March 1, 2019 deadline by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to find a location for the housing scheme and sort out other important details in relation to its materialization, or to give up on the project and move on.
According to local news outlet WAMC, MGM officials are looking at a long-vacated historic building located just a block from its brand-new resort. Mike Mathis, President of MGM Springfield, told the Massachusetts Gaming Commission during a meeting earlier this month that there was “a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel” that the long-delayed renovation of a six-story building at 31 Elm Street might eventually be carried out.
City Officials Encourage the Project
It was understood that Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and the city’s top Economic Development Officer, Kevin Kennedy, have made comments of encouragement for the renovation of the long-vacant block-long building. The 31 Elm Street property has been vacant for more than three decades as different investment and redevelopment proposals have fallen through.
The property is currently owned by the Springfield Redevelopment Authority. Springfield’s Opal Real Estate and Boston’s WinnDevelopment have been hired to lead the latest redevelopment effort. It was last year when it was first proposed as the potential site for MGM’s housing project. Back then, discussions involved the Las Vegas company investing $11 million into the project. The total cost for the scheme was estimated at between $35 million and $45 million. WAMC reports that new estimates have put the housing plan a $50 million-$55 million price tag.
Seth Stratton, MGM Springfield’s Vice President and General Counsel, has told local media that there have been ongoing and productive talks with city and state officials and the development group about how the project would be financed. The casino official further pointed out that they might not be there yet but were closer than they had been ever before and that was why talks would continue.
The MGM Springfield integrated resort opened to the public on August 24. According to initial information provided by the developer, around 50,000 people visit the property during the weekends and 25,000 on weekdays, thus exceeding MGM’s original expectations. The complex is home to Massachusetts’ first commercial casino. A second property of this kind is set to open doors next summer in the Greater Boston area. Another Las Vegas giant – Wynn Resorts – is developing that one.