[toc]Executives representing the forthcoming MGM Springfield Casino provided some specifics for the new nearly billion-dollar property at the latest City Council meeting on April 24.
Thanks to a round of questions from local lawmakers, the casino company tipped its hand about details for the property. Topics discussed included restaurant selection, parking, and what will come of the 54 apartments planned as part of the project.
MGM Springfield to feature two sit-down restaurants
Local newspaper The Reminder was present at the City Council meeting and detailed the new revelations.
One point of concern for local businesses was what kind of restaurant competition MGM would bring to town. The casino company is known for five-star dining. The company has numerous partnerships with celebrity chefs. New restaurants of that caliber could be stiff competition for existing Springfield culinary fare.
Council members Michael Fenton, Justin Hurst, and Tim Allen asked casino representatives about many things, including the restaurants. In previous meetings, the subject came up. Specifically, members of the council wanted to know if MGM was planning an Italian restaurant.
At the time, MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis said he had no intention of “putting another business out of business.”
At this meeting, Mathis and company was more forthcoming and admitted the two restaurants would be an Italian restaurant and a steakhouse.
Casino parking is still up for debate
The casino plans include a 3,000-space parking garage. The original plans for the garage included free parking for casino patrons. Currently MGM still aims to deliver free parking. However, Mathis did say the company is reserving the right to charge for parking in the future.
The city of Springfield imposed street parking bans several times throughout the winter during major snowstorms. No word whether or not the public safety measures influenced Mathis’ possible parking change of heart.
54 Springfield apartments still a matter for debate
Part of the agreement MGM made with the city was to develop over 50 market rate apartments in Downtown Springfield concurrent with casino construction.
The company purchased an old School Board building to convert into apartment units last year. Mathis said one of the problems with the project is developing units which can be rented at market rate for a profit.
MGM is pursuing other buildings to acquire and convert into apartments, but Mathis and the other MGM representatives did warn that there may not be exactly 54 units available at “affordable” housing rates. Mathis reassured the council the company would do its best to fulfill the spirit of the housing agreement though.
The casino will open in 2018. As of now, the $950 million casino project is roughly 30 percent complete.