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New England News

GE Moves HQ To Boston, MGM Casino Construction Continues In 2016

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One of the world’s biggest companies moved its headquarters from Connecticut to Massachusetts in 2016.  Construction began in earnest on the MGM casino in Springfield.

General Electric announced in January that it was relocating its headquarters to Boston. The move helps cement the greater Boston area’s reputation as a center for innovation.

The deal includes $145 million in state and local tax breaks.   Governor Charlie Baker said GE’s move will, eventually, pay dividends for the entire state.

" I think the possibilities of their impact spreading far beyond the greater Boston area are quite high," said Baker.

After a delay of almost a year, and a significant redesign that included removing a 25-story hotel, the site plan for the MGM casino got the approval of the Springfield City Council in February.  It was the final regulatory hurdle for the $950 million project, according to MGM Springfield President Mike Mathis.

"The good news for us, and the public, is you are going to see this project start coming out of the ground ( later this year)," said Mathis.

MGM marked several construction milestones in 2016.  After razing most of the old buildings on the 14.5-acre site, the foundations were poured for the new hotel and casino. A tower crane was brought to the site to begin putting steel beams in place.    A 126-year-old church was moved intact from the spot that will be the gambling floor to a location 200 yards away.  

Massachusetts Gaming Commissioner Bruce Stebbins called the relocation of the church an “impressive milestone.”

" It shows MGM's commitment to the project, which is moving forward with a lot of folks employed on the construction site and it shows MGM's attention to detail in this whole project," said Stebbins.

Springfield lost one professional hockey team in 2016, but gained another.  

Two days after the Springfield Falcons finished their season on April 17, the Arizona Coyotes announced a deal to purchase the team and move it to Tucson.  It was an embarrassing blow to Springfield, which was a charter member when the AHL was founded in 1936.

But within two weeks of the sale of the Falcons, a local group of investors struck a deal to purchase the AHL franchise in Portland, Maine and move the team to Springfield, where it was renamed the Thunderbirds.

   Springfield’s chief economic development official, Kevin Kennedy, said the city played only a passive role in the behind-the-scenes effort to keep professional hockey.

" The city has to roll out the red carpet," explained Kennedy. " We don't have a real say in what is going on, but  we can help with the perception."

Rather than move jobs to plants in Mexico or Tennessee, a Japanese automobile parts manufacturer decided to expand its factory in Chicopee.  The $12 million expansion by U.S. Tsubaki will mean 35 new jobs, according to Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos.

" There is a scoreboard and it has Chicopee one, Tennessee zero, and Mexico zero, as far as U.S. Tsubaki is concerned," said Kos.

The company will receive over $750,000 in state and local tax breaks.

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