MGM Springfield Breaks Ground in South End
SPRINGFIELD — MGM Resorts International hosted the groundbreaking of MGM Springfield — an $800 million casino resort slated to open in fall 2017 in downtown Springfield — on Tuesday. The event marked the start of the construction phase of this unique urban mixed-use development, the Commonwealth’s first destination casino resort.
Hundreds of people were in attendance at the groundbreaking celebration, emceed by Kathy Tobin, former local news anchor and current director of Program Development at Friends of the Homeless. With the Zanetti School — severely damaged by the June 2011 tornado that tore through Springfield’s South End — as a backdrop, speakers highlighted the history of Springfield, the rebirth of the South End neighborhood, and the energy and optimism that is filling the region.
“With every licensing milestone and every campaign victory, we have honored the potential of MGM Springfield,” said Jim Murren, MGM Resorts International chairman and CEO. “Today is even more special, though, as we put shovels in the ground to officially celebrate what we came here to do: put people back to work and begin a rebirth of the once-thriving urban center of Western Massachusetts.”
The crowd, which included many state and local elected and appointed officials, gathered to hear from Murren, MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis, Mass. Gaming Commission Chairman Steve Crosby, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, and Revitalize CDC Associate Director Ethel Griffin. More than 30 construction workers representing various trades were at the site to honor the moment.
Guests were treated to an interactive event, as they were asked to write their wishes for the future of the city of Springfield and Western Mass. Their wishes were then dropped into an MGM Springfield wishing well. MGM will put all the wishes into a capsule that will be placed in the resort foundation as construction begins. The outdoor event also featured a traditional first shovel of dirt as well as celebratory confetti blasts.
In keeping with MGM’s commitment to engage local businesses, Springfield vendors Langone’s, AC Produce, and Palazzo provided décor and beverages. Zasco Productions of Chicopee provided the staging, risers, and sound and technical equipment. Taylor Rental of South Hadley provided additional tables and chairs.
“The city of Springfield’s people welcomed us into their hearts and homes and trusted us with their hopes for the future,” Mathis said. “This property was designed with the input of residents who wanted more for their families and their community. Today is the day we start to realize that future as we activate the most robust construction site Springfield has ever seen.”
MGM Springfield will bring 3,000 permanent jobs and 2,000 construction jobs to downtown Springfield. MGM has established a hiring goal of 35% of the workforce from the city of Springfield and 90% from a combination of Springfield and the region. Additionally, MGM Springfield has entered into surrounding-community agreements with neighboring communities providing for tens of millions of dollars.