WEST REGION NEWS PUSHES FORWARD
In late April, Mitchell Etess, chief executive officer of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, joined a live chat with MassLive.com readers Wednesday afternoon, answering questions on Mohegan Sun’s proposed Palmer casino. He outlined the advantages associated with non urban resort casinos: “There are several advantages. First off, the rural model is what has been successful here in New England and in fact, is most likely responsible for the legislation being enacted. We believe, as referenced above that our 152 acres located in a rural setting will allow us to build a resort destination that will be more appealing to out of state visitors than an urban setting would be. And studies that have been done by the Commonwealth have indicated that there is more economic benefit to the Commonwealth from the rural model.”
Also, Northeast Realty is seeking zoning changes for two parcels connected to the land where Mohegan Sun wants to build a resort casino off Thorndike Street. The company also wants to amend a zoning ordinance to increase building height requirements so that it can build a hotel on the property.
Meanwhile in Springfield, City officials on Wednesday formally signed a host community agreement with MGM Resorts International. Sarno announced on Tuesday that he had selected MGM over a competing proposal from Penn National Gaming. The agreement calls for the company to make annual payments to Springfield of more than $25 million if the casino is built. ‘‘Quite simply, we’re ecstatic,’’ MGM Resorts President Bill Hornbuckle said in a call with reporters. ‘‘We think we have done this probably better than we have done any other development campaign in our company’s history.’’
Hornbuckle said that location puts it in prime position to deliver the economic development and jobs that lawmakers were aiming for in the casino bill. He also said the history of urban casinos, including the company’s casino in downtown Detroit, show that they ‘‘add and enhance’’ the area.
In North Springfield, engineering consultants to Hard Rock International, the company that wants to build an $800 million destination casino resort here, have told city officials that upgrades to the water and sewer system will be needed for the project.
Mark Rivers, president of The Bronson Companies, which is Hard Rock’s development consultant, said any improvements would be paid for by Hard Rock and that nearby businesses and residents would share in the benefits. He did not offer estimates of the cost of the upgrades.
“It’s all manageable,” Rivers said of paying for the improvements.
That’s all for now.