SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — This is the rendering of Penn National Gaming’s $807 million dollar Hollywood-branded destination casino in Springfield’s North End on land now occupied by the Peter Pan Bus station and the Springfield Republican.
It includes a 500 room hotel, 3,000 to 5,000 slot machines, 80 to 100 live table games and up to 45,000 square feet of conference space.
Eric Schippers, Senior Vice President for Public Affairs for Penn National Gaming downplayed the company’s taking this long to enter the competition.
“It’s actually the start of the race, not the end of the race,” said Schippers. “The reason why we haven’t made our announcement thus far is that there a lot of moving parts in our proposal.”
The Springfield Republican would be relocated toward to the center of downtown. Its printing facility would be built in another part of the city with the hopes of seeding an industrial park.
And Peter Pan’s bus operations would move to the old Union Station. Peter Picknelly, Peter Pan Chairman is partnering with Penn National Gaming on the casino.
In a written statement, Picknelly said:
“I am excited about the partnership we’ve formed with Penn National Gaming. Penn shares our vision, our values, and has a terrific record of partnering successfully with local communities to develop and operate urban casinos. As a lifelong resident of Springfield, I take great pride in being associated with this proposal. The $807 million project that we’ve unveiled today holds the potential to dramatically transform the economic future of our city. Not only will it create new jobs and additional tax revenue, it will serve as a catalyst for all sorts of additional development across the city.”
Schippers says developing in the north end and also in other parts of the city sets it apart from other casino plans.
One peculiar part of Penn National’s plan is its offer, if chosen by Springfield, to find a large retailer for the land on Page Boulevard now owned by Ameristar Casinos.
“Ameristar went ahead and purchased that land for $16 million dollars,” said Schippers. “It would be cause for concern for Springfield or any community to wonder what’s going to happen to that land. Is it going to lie fallow for years trying to find another buyer. So, all we’re saying is we will help to address and help them with at least one concern they might have.”
Ameristar says it hasn’t had any talks with Penn National. It also said it has no other plans for the land they own other than a casino.