SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Casino company Ameristar has announced that they have entered into an agreement to buy the former Westinghouse property on Page Boulevard in East Springfield. The company says that they want to develop a resort-style casino on the former industrial site.
According to a news release sent to 22News by Ameristar Casinos, the company has entered into a "definitive agreement" to purchase the 41-acre site for $16 million. The agreement is with an affiliate of the O'Connell Development Group Inc.
The plant, which closed decades ago, is currently being demolished. Ameristar says that they hope to close on the project by January of 2012, and that they anticipate the site will be "substantially ready for construction" when it is handed over.
Ameristar's plans are expected to include a casino featuring slots and table games, a luxury hotel, restaurants, shops, entertainment and meeting space, and structured parking.
Ameristar CEO Gordon Kanofsky says that the proposed casino would provide a great opportunity for both the company and the city of Springfield. "There are not many attractive new-market growth opportunities for casino companies, and this one in particular fits squarely within the Ameristar business model as an upscale regional destination casino operator."
Speaking with 22News on Wednesday afternoon, Troy Stemming, Ameristar Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs, echoed that sentiment. "We've been looking in this area for quite some time, and we're really excited to come across this site, I mean we believe this is the premium location for a casino resort here in western Massachusetts," Stemming said.
The announcement comes less than a day after both houses of the Massachusetts Legislature approved a bill that would allow casino gambling in Massachusetts. If the bill is signed by Governor Deval Patrick (which is expected), all casino proposals would have to be approved by a state gaming commission and local voters before construction can begin. Other casino proposals in Western Massachusetts include a plan by Hard Rock to develop a casino at the Wyckoff Country Club in Holyoke, and by Mohegan Sun to build a casino in Palmer. Casino developer Penn National has also expressed interest in a site in Springfield.
Ameristar currently operates resort casinos in Black Hawk, CO, Council Bluffs, IA, East Chicago, IN, Jackpot, NV, Kansas City, MO, St. Charles, MO, and Vicksburg, MS.