© 2024
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

MGM Preparing To Demolish Buildings, Close Parking Lots For Casino Construction

MGM Springfield

MGM is planning a spring groundbreaking for the $800 million resort casino the Las Vegas-based entertainment giant is building in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts. Several important steps in the complex project will happen over the next few weeks.

Although construction cranes won’t appear in the sky for several months, workers and visitors in downtown Springfield will shortly notice changes as MGM prepares the 14.5 acre site for the project that promises to transform Springfield, economically and culturally, for decades to come.

MGM has spent $42 million to acquire all the property in the footprint of the casino.  Not every building that was acquired is slated for demolition. Hunter Clayton, MGM Executive Vice President of Development said the company has worked with the local historic commission to incorporate some existing structures into the design of the project.

"There are a significant number of buildings being retained." said Clayton. " In our opinion it is a good historic preservation story."

Current tenants in the buildings newly acquired by MGM have been told to move out by the end of February. MGM has hired a relocation specialist to assist the tenants that include everything from small law offices to a furniture store.  Each tenant will be compensated for having to move. As part of that compensation,there is a bonus offered to stay in Springfield and an additional bonus for remaining downtown.

MGM is soliciting the first bids from local contractors to do demolition work. MGM is inviting site fencing contractors and demolition contractors to schedule appointments with MGM representatives this Friday and next Monday to discuss terms and conditions.

MGM said it will employ a total of 2,000 people during the course of the casino construction, with the peak employment likely occurring in 2016.  The total project is estimated to take 30-34 months to finish.

" Our focus is to engage local contracting communities in the project areas we are developing and to make sure we maximize that local participation," said Clayton.

MGM has also purchased seven private parking lots that are on the casino construction site. The lots, with a total of 500 spaces, will close March 1st.   The lots are close to the busy Hampden County Hall of Justice.

Additional parking will be lost downtown during the reconstruction of the I-91 viaduct later this year.  There are 950 parking spaces beneath the elevated highway decks that will be replaced during the three-year project.

Springfield Parking Authority Executive Director Mary McNally said she is committed to finding solutions to the parking crunch.

" It's very challenging," said McNally. " It will be an opportunity to work out the solutions, and at the risk of sounding boastful, I am very good at that."

Springfield Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy said the parking issues need to be put into perspective.

"A parking crunch  downtown, while it is a serious management issue and a convenience issue for people, it is also an indication of a lot of activity downtown, so that is a positive," declared Kennedy.

As part of the casino project MGM is building a parking garage that will be free for the public to use regardless of whether they patronize the casino.

The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.
Related Content