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MGM Springfield reveals $960 million resort casino to open earlier than expected (photos, video)

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MGM Springfield reveals $960 million resort casino to open earlier than expected (photos, video)

SPRINGFIELD - MGM Resorts International will open its Springfield casino ahead of schedule on Aug. 24, culminating a seven-year journey from vision to operation.

"It has just come together amazingly well," MGM Resorts President Bill Hornbuckle told The Republican this week. "It's extremely exciting. Our commitment is to Springfield. Our commitment is to get this open successfully. We are well on track to do that."

MGM had committed to opening the $960 million resort casino by September, describing its project as "New England's first integrated luxury resort and entertainment destination."

Hornbuckle gave credit to the MGM Springfield team for making the early opening a reality. The two successive "relatively soft" winters and the pending, on-time completion of the Interstate 91 rehabilitation project contributed to the timely completion of the casino, he said. The casino is along Main Street in the downtown-South End area, adjacent to I-91.

MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis said the company is proud to debut "what we believe will become the region's premier entertainment destination and play a role in an exciting renaissance for Springfield."

"A testament to years of collaboration between the City of Springfield and MGM Resorts, MGM Springfield will play tribute the city's legacy and celebrate its bright future, while introducing a stellar array of hospitality and entertainment experiences that will attract guests from New England and beyond," Mathis said.

Hornbuckle said MGM Springfield traces back to the fall of 2011, growing from an idea to design to local approvals to construction.

A unique feature of the project was melding it with the cityscape and historic architecture as though it had always been in Springfield, Hornbuckle said. Another special feature is the design of 22 entranceways, enhancing the connections to the community, he said.

The Aug. 24 grand opening will coincide with a national insurance convention in Springfield. Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America Inc. is visiting Springfield for its 2018 Fall Leadership Conference Aug. 22-26 at the Springfield Sheraton Monarch Place and MassMutual Center.

The event is expected to bring more than 600 insurance professionals to the city from around the country and should generate about $1 million in local economic activity.

MGM cited its focus on historic preservation and saving some of the city's "most storied buildings."

"Locals and tourists can experience venues such as the First Spiritualist Church, Springfield Armory and Chandler Union Hotel -- where Presidents Polk and Buchanan both stayed -- in an entirely new way," the company said.

Beyond the buzz of construction this spring and summer, furnishings and equipment have been arriving ranging from gambling equipment to carpeting, officials said. 

Hornbuckle said he wants to give "a big sincere thank-you to the community" for rallying behind the project from the first day onward.

"I look forward to work with MGM Springfield for many years to come," Mayor Domenic J.  Sarno said.  "They're a world-class company and an outstanding corporate citizen."

As part of its commitment to the city and state, MGM Springfield is hiring at least 3,000 employees, of which at least 2,200 will be employed on a full-time equivalent basis with benefits. MGM has said the average salary range of full-time positions varies from $40,000-$55,000 including the cost of benefits. The company says 80 percent of these jobs will be full-time positions.

There has been an extensive outreach effort for employees, and training opportunities that continue ahead of the casino opening, MGM officials said.

Part of the long-term employment pledge calls for MGM to "use its best efforts" to ensure at least 35 percent of employees are Springfield residents, with no more than 10 percent of the workforce coming from outside city limits to achieve labor participation goals regarding women, minorities and veterans.

The city of Holyoke is the only surrounding community that worked a jobs guarantee for its citizens into an agreement with MGM, thanks to the efforts of Mayor Alex Morse. The wording stipulates Holyoke residents will benefit from "hundreds" of jobs. 

MGM was also committed to hiring at least 2,000 construction workers. The general contractor was Tishman Construction of New York, and there were approximately 200 subcontractors on site over the construction period, officials said.

Regarding published reports that Wynn Resorts Ltd. may be discussing the sale of its Everett casino to MGM, Hornbuckle said MGM's policy is not to comment on rumors. MGM is fully committed to its Springfield project, and he has communicated that to Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, he said.

Regarding the threat of a third tribal casino in Connecticut -- planned as a joint venture between Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods in East Windsor, just 20 miles from Springfield -- Hornbuckle said that is a matter under litigation and "doesn't impact our plans" in Springfield.

MGM Springfield is "something that people will enjoy seven days a week," Hornbuckle said.

In addition, there will be announcements in the summer about entertainment programs being planned in conjunction with the MassMutual Center, Symphony Hall and CityStage.

MGM unveiled its casino design plans in August of 2012, then an estimated $800 million project.

Sarno announced his selection of MGM in May of 2013, beating out a competing offer from Penn National Gaming proposed in the North End. A third company, Ameristar, withdrew its proposal in East Springfield.

Springfield voters approved the host commmunity agreement with MGM in July of 2013 by a margin of 58 percent to 42 percent.

The groundbreaking was in March of 2015.

MGM Springfield listed some of its top attractions as including:

  • Accomodations -- A five-story boutique hotel will have 250 rooms, "inspired by the historic significance, iconic architecture and literary legacy of its urban surroundings," MGM said. The design features tied to the region range from the quotations from the works of Emily Dickinson to Merriam-Webster-inspired arts.
  • The Casino -- The 125,000 square foot gaming floor will feature approximately 2,550 slot machines, 120 gaming tables, a poker room and a high-limit VIP gaming area.
  • Dining experiences -- The food and beverage offerings include: the Cal Mare restaurant featuring ""the best of coastal Italian cuisine" and award-winning Chef Michael Mina; the Chandler Steak House featuring steaks and seafood by Meghan Gill, who was the Season 14 winner on the program Hell's Kitchen; and MGM's signature TAP Sports Bar; and the multiple food and beverage offerings in the South End Market on site.
  • Entertainment and Recreation -- MGM Springfield will provide multiple shows and venues at the MassMutual Center across from the casino. It will partner with other downtown venues such as Symphony Hall and CityStage for other venues. Other venues at the casino include: Topgolf Swing Suite, described as a a high-tech immersive golf simulation and lounge; an eight-screen movie theaer, a 10-lane bowling center; a spa; and an 8,000 square foot pool within a terraced rooftop garden.
  • Retail -- There will be an array of street-level retail shops on site including Kringle Candle and the first-ever apparel boutique from Indian Motorcycle, a motorcycle pioneer born in Springfield.
  • Open-air plaza -- the outood plaza and public space is being created with the historic, restored State Armory building at its center. The marketplace will feature live events, local artisans, farmers markets, and seasonsal programming including an outdoor ice rink.
  • Art -- The works of art throughout the casino will include works by local, regional and international artists. A key exclusive exhibit is "Cabinet of Curiosities: Springfield Innovations from the Springfield Museums."
  • Meetings and events -- In addition to the MassMutual Center, MGM will have approximately 42,500 square feet of space for business and social meetings and events.

Read more http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNHoWu8W6gpnQvsAVaotRnlHzFmVvg&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&cid=52779879560521&ei=hffhWoiSB8OxhQGoyYTIDw&url=http://www.masslive.com/mgm_springfield/index.ssf/2018/04/mgm_springfield_casino_nears_g.html

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