Watch video of MGM Springfield construction site tour
MassLive took a walking tour of the MGM Springfield site Tuesday afternoon, catching a glimpse of the construction leading up to the casino's planned September 2018 opening.
MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis and Randy Pitts of Tishman Construction led us on the tour, from a street-level look at the construction of MGM's six-story Main Street hotel to the inside of the building that will house the casino floor.
The project has been years in the making, since MGM beat out Penn National Gaming to win approval to build a casino in downtown Springfield. The casino has survived local and state-wide referendum votes, and site work began in earnest last winter after lengthy negotiations with historical preservation agencies.
City officials, most vocally Mayor Domenic Sarno, have touted the project as a key piece of economic development designed to help jumpstart Springfield's economy and draw tourists.
Construction on the casino site has accelerated since the company won needed demolition approvals in December of 2015. The demolition of the former Alfred G. Zanetti School in January kicked off a wave of knock-downs, and the last of the casino's legal obstacles was overcome when the Massachusetts Gaming Commission approved the redesign in May of 2015.
Since then, the site has completely transformed, with tornado-damaged office buildings and store fronts torn down and replaced with the skeleton of MGM's $950 million casino.
The MGM Springfield casino is expected to open in downtown Springfield in September 2018, after the completion of MassDOT's work on the I-91 viaduct in Springfield. The company has pledged to create 3,000 casino jobs and 2,000 construction jobs.