MGM Resorts Facing Criticism After Major Downgrade To Springfield Casino
MGM Resorts obtained a license to build a casino-resort in Springfield after submitting a detailed proposal that impressed state officials as the company was investing over $800 million to build the casino which would in turn create thousands of construction jobs and later hundreds of full time jobs that would benefit the local community and generate significant revenue for the state.
MGM Springfield obtained the license and broke ground on the project but since then have made a number of changes to the original proposal that has resulted in the project being downgraded and becoming a lot smaller than the original proposal. These sudden changes has not gone down well with Springfield officials and labor unions who feel that MGM submitted a flattering proposal to get approval only to go back on its commitment.
MGM Springfield has now decided to reduce its hotel size by 25,490 square feet; its retail space by 7,522 square feet; its convention space by 2,154 square feet; its food and beverage space by 13,947 square feet and scale of operations by 67,883 square feet. The retail block will take a big hit as the company has proposed to reduce it by 20,343 square feet and the entire project has now been significantly scaled down.
While MGM Springfield executives have met with government officials to assure them of their commitment to the project, there were a lot of questions raised about MGM’s Springfield’s size reduction and the scope of the project. The downgrade will certainly cause the project to lose some of its magic and there will be a reduction in the employment opportunities that were originally promised.
Carpenters Local 108 Business Manager Jason Garand was one of the individuals who had earlier thrown his support behind the MGM Springfield project as his union stood to benefit from the employment opportunities generated by the casino. He hasn’t been very happy to see the proposed changes and felt that MGM had not honored its commitment.
Ina statement, Garand said
Getting this is like a punch in the gut. Did we get duped? Did the city get duped?” Those are the parts of this that really sold the city as a destination resort casino. To have a project go from all the glamour and glitz that was really going to make this a destination to come from all over – it has the flavor of a slot parlor,” Garand said. “To all the nay sayers out there, they’re like – I told you so.