MGM Springfield to Open This Fall

The pace towards the September opening of the $960 million MGM Springfield in Massachusetts is picking up. The casino structure will soon be sealed and indoor work will begin. The administration has moved into its permanent headquarters.

This is the year that the long awaited $960 million MGM Springfield will open in Massachusetts’s third largest city, three years after the groundbreaking took place on the 14.5 acres in the South End.

The casino is scheduled for a September opening, and MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis issued a statement at the start of the year: “I’m incredibly excited. For 2018, we feel like this is Springfield’s year to shine.”

One of the first things happening this year is that the MGM Springfield administration offices are moving from their temporary site in the Monarch building to a newly renovated building within the footprint of the project. The move began last week.

The permanent headquarters is within the renovated State Building, an 11-story Classical Revival style building erected in the 1920s. The landmark was saved from demolition but was persuaded to preserve the architecture while reclaiming the interior. Mathis is happy with the window views the building offers and said it is preferable to being located in a windowless basement.

He said that two consecutive moderate winters has enabled the developer to make more progress than had been anticipated. But during this winter the buildings will be sealed so that interior work can begin. This will include guest spaces

February 26 the Massachusetts Casino Career Training Institute, offered by the Springfield Technical Community College and Holyoke Community College in cooperation with MGM will commence a training program for prospective dealers, croupiers and gaming table employees in the State Building.

Boston-based Cambridge College’s Tower Square campus, meanwhile, will offer classroom pre-apprenticeship hospitality training—a program also created in conjunction with MGM. It will accommodate up to 1,200 students.

Normally apprenticeships are associated with construction, but William McKinney wants to change that. McKinney is director of the division of labor standards for Massachusetts’s Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

At a press conference announcing the new program he said “We are building a number of apprentice programs for many careers. The goal is to bridge that gap between people who need these jobs and the employees who are looking for certain skills.” The classes won’t just train to work in casinos, but will offer skills that can be employed in other industries.

One of the classes will be called “Springfield concierge” and will teach students how to give directions and make recommendations to casino patrons for other attractions in the city.

MGM Springfield has committed to creating 3,000 permanent jobs, with most of them full time with benefits. About 1,000 will be employed on the casino floor.

MGM is also preserving another iconic Springfield edifice, the old State Armory building, which it bought for $1.6 in 2014 several years after much of the building was severely damaged by the 2011 tornado that ravage the South End.

The preservation work is continuing this year, mainly to preserve the front historic part of the building. It will be reborn as a marketplace for the casino, where some of the food and beverage and retail partners will be located. These partnerships will be announced soon.

The developer is spending about $11 millions of an estimated $40 million to help develop market housing on Elm Street several blocks away from the casino, and which would provide housing for some casino employees. MGM has committed to providing 54 units, but has two more years to meet that promise.

MGM is also building the six-story MGM Springfield hotel, whose design will include art related to the history of the city. The four-star hotel will have 250 rooms.

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