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Old 08-15-2018, 04:09 PM
 
405 posts, read 163,110 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by in_newengland View Post

I would much rather have seen Boston invest in WMass with some business expansion--or something. But it is what it is. A resort casino. In the south end of Springfield. Still I hope it's successful, hope something can finally go right for Springfield.

Anyone can still invest in Springfield if they choose - just that no one ever does


Actually, it's not a resort casino. It has a smallish hotel attached, a bowling alley, a movie theater and a couple of restaurants. The shows they book will be at the Mass Mutual Center, not in the casino. I (despite my defense of it) am not a casino person, but I took a drive by and they did a very nice job. All the buildings fronting Main Street look like Main Street 100 years ago, except new. You can barely tell where the old and new start and end. It's not garish or gaudy. Certainly better than all the blighted empty buildings they took down that were a haven for the ne'er do wells.


Actually, I might just go down there right now and take a walk around - get a coffee and take some pictures to post here.

Last edited by IWLC; 08-15-2018 at 04:22 PM..
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Old 08-15-2018, 05:32 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts & Hilton Head, SC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IWLC View Post


Actually, I might just go down there right now and take a walk around - get a coffee and take some pictures to post here.
Yes, pictures would be helpful.
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Old 08-15-2018, 06:10 PM
 
405 posts, read 163,110 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaseyB View Post
Yes, pictures would be helpful.

Ok, here's the spy report.


Firstly, downtown was looking pretty good tonight. There was an event held by White Lion Brewery going on in front of Monarch Place with tents and a decent, well dressed crowd. Red Rose was doing a good business too and there were quite a few people walking around, getting a look. The part of the casino running along main street takes up almost 3 blocks, with the restaurants and stores opening onto Main Street rather than being inside like typical casinos. The businesses include an Italian restaurant, a swanky looking hair salon, a steakhouse, the main entrance to the hotel, a Starbucks and Hannouche Jewelers plus a casino entrance. The sidewalk is wide enough that I suspect there will be outside dining. Can't help but make the empty shops across the street more attractive to lease.


Then at the end of the block, you turn onto Howard Street, by Red Rose and it opens onto a big courtyard type thing, with a big covered area being finished up that looks like it's for outdoor concerts, etc. Nicely landscaped. If you go another block down Main street and turn down that street, there is a new Regal Cinema and what looks like a sports bar with an Indian Motorcycle theme. The whole thing, plus the other improvements made to Main Street looks pretty darn sweet. I parked down by the former Tower Square and walked down Main Street. It looked bright and clean. I actually enjoyed my walk around.



As you can tell by the pics, it looks like Springfield might have looked when it was new. Kind of Bostony looking. It's so authentic looking I had to go to Google Street View to make sure the buildings weren't always there.

I couldn't get too close because there was work going on in the courtyard, so just a couple of pics.


I think the crankiest of curmudgeons would admit it looks like a brand new downtown if they saw it in person
Attached Thumbnails
Let's Talk about Springfield-rsz_dscn3379-1-.jpg   Let's Talk about Springfield-rsz_dscn3372.jpg  

Last edited by IWLC; 08-15-2018 at 06:20 PM..
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Old 08-15-2018, 06:18 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts & Hilton Head, SC
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It certainly blends in, doesn't it? I hope the restaurants are good because if they are people are more likely to visit the casino after dinner.
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Old 08-15-2018, 06:31 PM
 
Location: stuck in the woods with bears and moose
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That's a great report. Thanks for doing that.

It does look good, not like I remember Springfield, but different and new yet the architecture is interesting.

I like the fact that the businesses open onto Main St instead of being contained inside the casino. It COULD inspire some new businesses in the area. Maybe some other restaurants--I believe the casino has an Italian place and a steak house--but maybe other restaurants will come.

It does look impressive.
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Old 08-15-2018, 06:41 PM
 
405 posts, read 163,110 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by in_newengland View Post
That's a great report. Thanks for doing that.

It does look good, not like I remember Springfield, but different and new yet the architecture is interesting.

I like the fact that the businesses open onto Main St instead of being contained inside the casino. It COULD inspire some new businesses in the area. Maybe some other restaurants--I believe the casino has an Italian place and a steak house--but maybe other restaurants will come.

It does look impressive.

This part is a little weird. I'm glad they saved this building but it looks kind of out of place. It would make an awesome Indian Motorcycle Museum though. I've always thought Indian is way under represented in Springfield, and deserves better than a few bikes on the second floor of the Springfield museum. You can kind of see the covered pavilion they're building behind it
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Let's Talk about Springfield-rsz_dscn3380.jpg  
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Old 08-15-2018, 06:50 PM
 
Location: stuck in the woods with bears and moose
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IWLC View Post
This part is a little weird. I'm glad they saved this building but it looks kind of out of place. It would make an awesome Indian Motorcycle Museum though. I've always thought Indian is way under represented in Springfield, and deserves better than a few bikes on the second floor of the Springfield museum. You can kind of see the covered pavilion they're building behind it
Was that building always there? I don't remember seeing it.

I agree that there should be something more about Indian Motorcycle. It's an important part of Springfield's history and anyway, lots of people are interested in motorcycles.
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Old 08-15-2018, 07:06 PM
 
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Huh..ok a few things.

1) The mob is generally gone. Some people technically miss it because back in the day if something happened it would be a fight in a back ally and not seen. I've even heard an old story of someone that lost money in a underground gaming event and found himself broke. Supposedly he was provided a large fruit basket for the kids and told never to show up again. Now there could be kids of former mob bosses around but there's really no crime from them. Gangs took their place but some weren't "real" "bloods" so to speak. I know Latin Kings and Hell's Angels are active. Latin Kings actually has bylaws (I'm dead serious). I'd argue it's those two and some fake wannabe gangs. If there is violence it's usually targeted towards those either using or dealing drugs or in gangs.

2) The other aspect on crime is there's a ton of police activity now. Cameras left and right and 50 cops to patrol the downtown. Union station has a mix of Amtrak along with pvta, Peter pan etc. There's state police in the casino and a wide variety of private security. Police sub stations have been made along with cops in a box so to speak.

3) As for concrete...MGM springfield is a private company and this is a private job. It is not public construction. Initially with my retail background I thought that their operations and supplies would be standardized. I was dead wrong on this. They are spending 50 million on a regional level annually on supplies. Park cleaners for example is their dry cleaning company. It went from 4 people to 6 and is still hiring. That might not sound like much but that's just one vendor. Yankee Mattress is their mattress company, many of the beers are the local brews, artwork locally sourced etc. Getting back to concrete the state government for its purposes does list a price schedule. https://www.mass.gov/service-details...ce-adjustments Now there's no law they have to use this but you can bet it can be referenced by private contractors. This was largely made after 2008 to get a baseline. MGM is a publicly traded company, not 100% privately owned so the vetting by both the Mass gaming commission and the SEC helps. From what I understand they are pretty progressive company.

4) The billion includes the demolition of the old buildings, site work, construction, moving the mission to the south end, moving the church etc. From what I've heard is it looks very good on the inside and that's where you are going to see the money.

5) "Springfield doesn't have the arts, or higher ed institutions, or culinary draws that a place like Providence has."
The museums for starters. The paramount is going to be refurbished and worked which frankly will draw down arts from northampton. Higher ed exists but it isn't in the downtown. Springfield College, Western New England College, American International College, STCC. Culinary frankly given the training that's happening and Snapchef people are coming to the area to learn how to cook. https://www.masslive.com/news/index....e_culinar.html

https://www.masslive.com/business-ne..._culinary.html

Does it have the same number of restaurants as New Haven? No but no one is claiming that. But gradually as the space is there and the employees more restaurants open up. I'm in walking distance from Lebanese, Indian, Cajun, Soul food, German, Chinese, Afgani, BBQ, Italian, Puerto Rican etc. Driving adds Russian, Turkish, Vietnamese, Vegan etc. There are local delivery services as well.

6) You have to consider much of what MGM has access to was already built. To do something the same scale in another area would take longer. Symphony hall and the mass mutual center would cost probably hundreds of millions to attempt to build by themselves. You have to sponsor some type of entertainment to get people in and there's some venues planned. I've already seen people show up for Louis CK and Amy Schumer. When Louis CK came it was the same time I believe as Jazz and roots and there was about 11,000 people in the downtown, it was packed. Union station also enables people to take the train in and CT has been pouring money into transit. PVTA added a loop system so there's really hardly any effort to go downtown. CT public university and college students get to ride rails and buses free as it's built into tuition so frankly they can go to MGM for free. Free CT rail and free Loop bus. King ward is already set up for a long distance bus company and Bradley is still expanding flights. There's quite a bit of development regionally.

As for academic ratings there's four high schools with different ratings. Infact in many districts there can be complete different experiences. Boston Latin is great for students of Boston Public Schools but the likelyhood of getting in is not assured. There are level 1 and 2 schools in the district on par with suburban ones. Furthermore in many cases if there is a high graduation rate teachers can just hand out A's. "Popular teacher" is code word for "will pass anyone". Back in the day when a kid brought home a bad grade the parents would punish the kids. Now you have pressure cooker schools where someone gets a cerebral hemorrhage due to getting a A- instead of an A. They storm into the classroom and then to the principle and then to the superintendent and then maybe to the town/city itself. Teachers are without question pressured to pass kids. Add in pay for performance and it adds up. Look at Chicago and look at Atlanta especially. I know there's pressure to make these arguments that you have to go to a good high school to get into a good college to get a good job but that isn't really the case for personal wealth. The vast majority of wealth is obtained by investments of which educational attainment means little. The tax structure is by far better or businesses vs personal income. There are plenty of ways to make an income and simple compound interest goes a long way. Are you going to find many six figure jobs in the region? No. but your housing is about a third to a quarter of the cost and that can easily provide more capital for other things. Knowing people with a second/third home or commercial property as an investment is not unheard of here.

It's also like the way how the way budgets have formed in the past 20 years has eroded security in small towns across the country. If a stabbing happens in springfield there's enough of a police force to find someone. Heck I talked with a guy a few hours ago that heard glass breaking (large one) in a building across from his house. Within a few minutes a near swat team showed up and caught whoever doing whatever and he's gone. I know of suburbs that have to call another four to five departments to get the person. Urban areas are antifragile. As mentioned earlier as part of a cause of death regardless of if you think it is violent more people die from cars vs guns. There's more driving in suburbs vs urban areas due to a lack of public transit.

Lastly if anyone here wants to meet me I can walk you around. Mocha Emporium has the best chai this side of Mubai. Chef Wayne has great Cajun food and maybe get a canoli at Fionentina.
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Old 08-15-2018, 07:08 PM
 
405 posts, read 163,110 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by in_newengland View Post
Was that building always there? I don't remember seeing it.

I agree that there should be something more about Indian Motorcycle. It's an important part of Springfield's history and anyway, lots of people are interested in motorcycles.

I think they should have put the Indian Museum where the old basketball Hall of Fame is instead of the LA fitness center. It was a bit embarrassing when they did the big Indian ride from California to Springfield, people shipped their Indians from all over the world to do the ride - and the only attraction they could show them when they got here was the old Indian factory that is now subsidized housing.


A real motorcycle museum is staffed by people who actually know about Motorcycles, not the old lady museum volunteers they have at the Indian exhibit at the Springfield Museums.


This is why you can't trust Springfield government to generate excitement. Remember when they re-did the Mass Mutual Center - all the promises of shows and attractions they would be bringing in? Instead, all the events that used to come didn't come anymore. I came to Springfield in the 80's and I've been hearing about Riverfront Park and how great it will eventually be, ever since then. Maybe MGM can accomplish that now that they'll be bringing in the shows.
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Old 08-15-2018, 07:20 PM
 
5,118 posts, read 4,828,849 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IWLC View Post
This part is a little weird. I'm glad they saved this building but it looks kind of out of place. It would make an awesome Indian Motorcycle Museum though. I've always thought Indian is way under represented in Springfield, and deserves better than a few bikes on the second floor of the Springfield museum. You can kind of see the covered pavilion they're building behind it
They had to save that as that's the old south end community center. The back of it was damaged by the tornado. It was the church that was moved. I thought it was to be an irish pub but I'm not sure.

"I like the fact that the businesses open onto Main St instead of being contained inside the casino. It COULD inspire some new businesses in the area. Maybe some other restaurants--I believe the casino has an Italian place and a steak house--but maybe other restaurants will come. "

That is 100% the main difference of this vs what most people think of with casinos. Long ago..long ago I had an internship with the late Anna Nalavanko who dealt directly with the Wampanogs when they tried. She had reams of work that's probably still there. The thoughts were that if it is inclusive and doesn't have anything leading out then it isn't good.

So yes you can go to the steakhouse, the salon, the movie theater, the bowling ally and not actually set foot inside the casino itself. I'd also add it is also non smoking but there might be places outside. Parking is free but that's controversial. There is a sign but it is not video, MGC denied that the other day, I can't blame them.

On the side if you turned there's a white building that's a day care for the kids of employees. The other side of say 91 state street you can see a bit of the transition of old building to new. They left many of the historical parts in but like I mentioned it was a back and forth.

To note the casino itself does not close. However the shops themselves are not 24/7. Starbucks already has hours posted.

I'm looking forward to the white lion Wednesday that's going to be at mgm in probably two weeks. There's new road paint, new bike lanes, wayfinding, bike sharing, police kiosks, new trash barrels. Quite a bit has cleaned up. The refresh I think was to make more of the area ADA compliant. Wider sidewalks and landing pads. There's also more bus shelters and all of this adds up. I'm not saying it was planned by the same people but it's all being finished the same time.

The argument in the city now is now about development in other parts of the city. I think Indian orchard could have some more development at the mills but it depends. Gateway city arts does great work. The arts scene I think will be interesting to see how it plays out in the next few years.
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