Prest It seems Mohegan Sun is never satisfied with the status quo. Besides local, American, and global interests, Mohegan Sun Future Plans Include Norwich Hospital Site and Mohegan Expo Center.
Mohegan Sun’s future plans seem to be in direct conflict with casino construction in America recently.
Two of the latest casino interests are:
- The Convenience Casino – Smaller, local casinos with less amenities, a few restaurants and mostly slots, if not all slots. For many a slot player, convenience trumps the amenities that make up the gaming “experience.” Close to home gets the nod, especially if you can’t get to the major hubs of Las Vegas, AC, or Biloxi. Examples are Plainridge Park, in Plainville, MA., and numerous racinos and riverboat casinos throughout the country.
- The Urban Casino – built, usually in already existing buildings. Properties include major renovations or completely new buildings, like MGM Springfield. Detroit has made good on the small “urban casino” projects. They are built in an already existing Downtown area, made to fit in the existing landscape of the city, and are not dependent upon having a hotel.
- The Boutique Casino – a fairly vague answer to the Mega-Casinos. Basically, they are a smaller, quaint, not necessarily a chain or a franchise hotel. The hotel and casino are downsized, much like The Cromwell in Las Vegas.
Still, Mohegan Sun, a mega-resort/casino, pushes on as the antithesis of those trends.
Retail, Water Park, Senior Living and more
Kathleen McWilliams, a reporter for the Hartford Courant, recently reported the Mohegan’s plan for Preston, CT. The town across the river where the former Norwich Hospital site in Preston CT, “[will be made] into a dozen amenities, including an indoor water park, a senior living center and a sports complex. This huge plan also includes outdoor and indoor entertainment attractions, in addition to a large performing venue. Also included are time share units, retail, an RV park and marina, restaurant space, a convenience store and gas station.”
“With up to $600 million in possible development, we will stimulate growth, drive new business and help strengthen the local economy,” Mohegan Tribal Chairman Kevin Brown said. He was referring to the 393-acre brownfield site that has been vacant since the state shuttered the hospital’s doors in 1996. The town of Preston bought the property from the state for $1. $20 million, including $9 million from the state. It has been spent cleaning up the property and demolishing dozens of buildings to make way for new development.
Connection to Casino Property
Is this designed to make the the casino a bigger attraction? Not really. Mohegan Tribal Chairman Kevin Brown said the intentions are to:
- offer options for Mohegan Sun visitors who aren’t as interested in gambling.
- add at least 750 construction jobs and hundreds of permanent full time positions.
- solidify Mystic country in southeastern Connecticut as a top tourism destination
- take a big step forward that will allow the town to double its grand list, said Preston First Selectman Bob Congdon
The Earth Tower
Recently, the Mohegan Tribe opened the Earth Tower. The main reasons for The Earth Tower were competition from other casinos and the need for more rooms attached to the casino. The tribe says it has turned away 1 million room requests in just the last year. Consideration to the many conventioneers was completed this fall. (Look for a review next week, after a brief stay in the Earth Tower.) A previous post discussions the opening – Earth Hotel Opens at Mohegan Sun.
Conference Center Expansion
Long before they christened their second hotel tower a couple of months ago, Mohegan Sun officials already looking to the future. The Sun was planning another relatively modest expansion, this one an $80 million conference center. Bobby Soper, president and chief executive officer of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority reported on it. “It’s not definite that it’s a go, but we’re in the advanced planning stages…..the planning began a year ago.”
According to Brian Hallenbeck, of the New London Day, “Mohegan Sun officials believe the hotel and expo center would enable the casino to capture most of the 85,000 “room nights” a year. Last June’s “highly successful” Barrett-Jackson collector car auction, held at Mohegan Sun Arena, “validates the proposition…” The proposed conference center would be located in a vacant area next to the casino’s Winter Garage. It will link the garage, the Earth Casino and the Earth Tower. “Everything will be under one roof,” Soper said. “Whether you’re staying at Earth, or Sky or visiting the conference center, it’s going to be all under one roof.”