SPRINGFIELD — Two casino industry heavyweights, Penn National Gaming and MGM Resorts, promised to create jobs and drive economic activity in this struggling city, in dueling presentations to local voters Tuesday that launched the public competition for casino development rights in Springfield.
MGM came armed with the more detailed presentation, including short “walk-through” animations of its $800 million gambling, entertainment, and housing proposal, planned for three blocks in the city’s South End.
“I hope you can appreciate we are ready,” said Bill Hornbuckle, president of the MGM Springfield project.
Penn will unveil many details of its proposal at a formal rollout of the project during a “red carpet gala event” in Springfield on Dec. 20.
It did, however, offer several pieces of news, including that it has formalized a handshake agreement and signed an option to buy land now occupied by The Republican newspaper, which owns part of the 13-acre North End site where Penn has proposed an $807 million gambling resort. Plans call for the newspaper to be relocated within the city.
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