By Zachary Baru
MGM Springfield's changes to the hotel design of their $800 million resort casino in the South End should still have the same effect on the city's sports and entertainment events. Once completed, the development should be a major driver of economic activity throughout the region, reenergizing the city's sporting events and concerts at the MassMutual Center, Symphony Hall and on the grounds of the resort casino itself.
MGM Springfield has committed to still build a 250-room hotel, the same number of rooms that was originally outlined in the once proposed 25-story hotel. Not only will the same number of rooms be built, but moving the hotel to Main Street allows MGM to move their planned market-rate apartments across the street, expanding the development to a greater scale in the South End.
With the same number of hotel rooms available, the effect on sports and entertainment should still be that of a positive one, drawing people from around the region to potential events in Springfield venues. The Springfield Falcons and concerts at the MassMutual Center and Symphony Hall are a few events that should benefit from a surge in tourism provided by MGM Springfield.
With the opening of the Union Station Regional Intermodal Transportation Center in 2017, combining terminals for trains and busses entering the city, and the addition of the new commuter rail between New Haven and Springfield, the opportunity to expand sports and entertainment offerings in Springfield will be better than ever.
MGM Springfield's plans for a 250-room hotel will make it even easier to accommodate large events and conventions here in Springfield. This is a unique opportunity to grow Springfield's sports and entertainment offerings for decades to come.
Zach Baru can be followed on Twitter @zbaru and reached at email@example.com.