The Mohegan Tribe has reached a tentative agreement with the town of Preston for an ambitious plan to buy and redevelop the property on the Thames River. Normally it would be for either Tribal needs or gaming expansion. And the Mohegan tribe has had their eyes on the large parcel of large just across the river for a while.
So what would it be used for? Here’s the nuts and bolts of the agreement:
The Mohegan Tribe would redevelop the property for office, retail, entertainment, recreation and possibly housing.
Construction would start within three years and be finished in five years, costing between $200 million and $600 million.
It will not include additional gaming attractions, prohibited under the state’s sale of the hospital site to the town in 2009 for $1
It would not become part of the Mohegan reservation, assuring it will be subject to taxes.
First Selectman Robert Congdon said, “”It’s more important than ever to create a destination in Southeastern Connecticut that sets us apart from the others.” Tony Sheridan, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, also spoke in favor of the tribe. “It speaks volumes of the tribe’s confidence in the area in the future and that has a rippling effect throughout the region.”
According to Kenneth R. Gosselin of the Hartford Courant, the agreement with Preston is further evidence that the Mohegans are moving swiftly to diversify their operations beyond their mainstay gaming business. Examples include smaller franchise ventures with Arooga’s, Smashburger & Jersey Mike’s, to larger projkects such as managing Resorts in Atlantic City, managing a casino in Louisiana, partnering with the Cowlitz Tribe in Washington State, and the development of a casino and entertainment complex at the airport in Seoul, South Korea.
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If Preston voters approve the tentative deal at a town meeting May 19, the town would hammer out a contract with the Mohegan Tribe over the next six months. In BETG’s opinion, it’s a win-win all around.