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Casino firm unveils plans for $910m Springfield resort

With a location in East Springfield and a cost of $910 million, the Ameristar Casinos plan features a 150,000-square-foot gambling floor with 3,300 slot machines and 110 table games, a 500-room luxury hotel with 50 suites as well as indoor and outdoor resort swimming pools, a spa, a fitness center, and retail stores.

Ameristar

With a location in East Springfield and a cost of $910 million, the Ameristar Casinos plan features a 150,000-square-foot gambling floor with 3,300 slot machines and 110 table games, a 500-room luxury hotel with 50 suites as well as indoor and outdoor resort swimming pools, a spa, a fitness center, and retail stores.

Ameristar Casinos revealed ­details Tuesday of a $910 million gambling resort the company has proposed for 40 acres it owns on the east side of Springfield, joining the competition for casino development rights in Western Massachusetts.

Ameristar, which released artist renderings of the project, plans a 150,000-square-foot gambling floor with 3,300 slot machines and 110 ­table games, including a poker room; a 500-room luxury hotel with 50 suites, as well as indoor and outdoor resort swimming pools, a spa, a fitness center, and retail stores.

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The company plans to build a conference and entertainment center and a parking garage to hold 4,300 cars, according to Ameristar. The project would also include upscale restaurants overseen by celebrity chefs Wolfgang Puck and Martin Yan, as well as Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar & Grill and other offerings.

“Ameristar owns all 40 acres, which have been cleared and are imme­diately ready for construction,” said Gordon Kanofsky, Ameristar chief executive. “With no displacement of existing residents or businesses, we will have a 12-to-18-month head start on other proposals. We will more quickly begin creating the desperately needed 2,000 union construction jobs, 2,300 permanent jobs, and thousands of additional in­direct jobs.”

Ameristar, which owns land at Route 291 and Page Boulevard, has pledged to spend $58 million on traffic improvements. The company said its ­resort plan could accommodate “significant future expansions of the casino, hotel, and parking garages.”

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“We look forward to these 40 acres once again becoming a vibrant economic engine of the community,” said Kanofsky.

Two other companies have already proposed casino resorts in Springfield.

MGM Resorts proposed an $800 million gambling and enter­tainment emporium in the city’s South End.

Penn National Gaming — in partnership with local businessman Peter Picknelly, the head of Peter Pan Bus Lines — has outlined plans for an $807 million gambling complex in the city’s North End, which would include land now occupied by the headquarters of the Republican newspaper. The ­paper would relocate if Penn wins casino development rights.

A fourth casino company that investigated Springfield, Hard Rock International, ­decided not to offer a bid to build in the city.

The state gambling commission controls the sole casino ­license created for Western Massachusetts and will award the license through a competition expected to last through 2013.

Mayor Domenic Sarno, with the help of a consultant, has set up a local competition to whittle the number of applicants in Springfield to one or two. The winning companies will earn the right to negotiate with ­Sarno over the terms under which the city would accept a gambling business. The winning companies must earn the endorsement of voters in a referendum, to be permitted to ­apply to the gambling commission for a state license.

The owners of the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut have proposed a casino in Palmer, which would compete for the Western Massachusetts license.

Mark Arsenault can be reached at marsenault@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @bostonglobemark.
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