If there is a silver lining to MGM Springfield’s construction delays, it may be that casino execs have had some extra time to check the books on this $800+ million project. And it’s a good thing they did. Due to budgetary concerns, the company has just announced that the glass hotel tower — originally planned as one of the main draws to the casino, and a gleaming upgrade to the city’s staid skyline — is no more.
On Sep. 22, MGM unveiled a revised site plan for its South End complex, including a proposed overhaul of the hotel’s design. Although the hotel will still have 250 rooms as promised, the expensive 25-story glass tower idea has been swapped for a more fiscally responible six-story hotel, sans shiny facade, relocated from State Street to the corner of Main and Howard Streets. This will require moving 54 new market-rate apartments to a location outside the casino footprint, location TBD.
In a public hearing with the state’s Gaming Commission on Sep. 24, MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis said that design changes were prompted by higher-than-expected price tags on labor and construction. “I’m not going to pretend that cost is not the issue,” he said.
The revised plans still require approval from the city and from the commission, which is expected to meet next month.