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Facing Housing Deadline, MGM Tells Regulators It's Committed To Court Square Project

MGM says it's "fully committed" to help redevelop a long-vacant building on Court Square in Springfield, Massachusetts. 

Regulators had pushed the company to move forward with the deal by Thursday, or pick another project.

In its casino agreement years ago with Springfield, MGM promised to build 54 market-rate apartments.

That was amended and delayed as the city, MGM and other developers tried to make the Court Square project, at 31 Elm Street, a reality. That project would include 74 apartments, along with first-floor retail space.

Even now, it's not a done deal. MGM has long committed $11 million toward the project's price tag — which has grown to an estimated $55 million.

"This is not an MGM project," MGM Springfield lawyer Seth Stratton told the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Thursday. "It's a project in which we would participate financially to help happen."

In a letter to the commission, Springfield's city solicitor, Ed Pikula, said officials are drafting an amendment to MGM's agreement with the city "to incorporate the project." That would need City Council approval.

But in his comments to regulators, Stratton left the company an opening to invest in a different project if financing comes up short.

"In the hopefully unlikely event that some material changes our perspective on whether this is more likely than not to move forward, we would certainly commit to communicating early and often with the gaming commission," he said.

Stratton said he expects more details of the Court Square project will be ready within a couple months. 

Disclosure: MGM has purchased underwriting from New England Public Radio publicizing the company's non-gambling activities. The NEPR newsroom operates independently of the station's development department, and editorial decisions are made without regard to any funding relationships.

Sam Hudzik has overseen local news coverage on New England Public Media since 2013. He manages a team of about a dozen full- and part-time reporters and hosts.
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