|By Brian Hallenbeck, The Day, New London,
Conn.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Oct. 24, 2012--Ameristar Casinos unveiled details Tuesday of its plan to develop a $910 million "casino resort spa" in Springfield, Mass., one of three casino projects proposed for the city.
In a press release, the Las Vegas-based casino operator announced it would build a 150,000-square-foot facility on a 40-acre site near the Massachusetts Turnpike and Interstate 291, minutes from downtown. The facility would feature 3,300 slot machines and 110 table games, including a poker room.
"Ameristar owns all 40 acres, which have been cleared and are immediately ready for construction," Gordon Kanofsky, Ameristar's chief executive officer, said. "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."
Kanofsky said Ameristar would fund a $58 million I-291 interchange that would provide easy access to the property and help reduce existing traffic congestion.
The project would include a 500-room luxury hotel with 50 suites, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a spa, a fitness center and retail amenities. The plan also calls for diverse food and beverage options, a conference and entertainment center and garage parking for 4,300 vehicles.
The resort is designed to accommodate significant future expansions of the casino, hotel and parking garages.
Ameristar said its casino would include restaurants overseen by celebrity chefs Wolfgang Puck and Martin Yan as well as locally owned favorites. Former Red Sox second baseman and current New England Sports Network color analyst Jerry Remy would have a Jerry Remy's Sports Bar & Grill there.
MGM Resorts International and Penn National Gaming also have proposed Springfield casinos, joining a highly competitive western Massachusetts field that includes the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, which operates Mohegan Sun in Uncasville. The Mohegan authority has proposed a casino for Palmer, a town east of Springfield.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is expected to issue one casino license for western Massachusetts.
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