CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) - Ameristar is one of the three firms vying to build a casino in the city of Springfield, and one of four firms that currently have a proposal to build in western Massachusetts.
The Nevada-based company hopes to build a $910 million resort-style casino at the former Westinghouse property on Page Boulevard in East Springfield. They unveiled details of their plan during a reception on Tuesday morning.
22News I-Team Reporter Ryan Walsh was at the reception, and later had a one-on-one interview with Ameristar CEO Gordon Kanofsky about the company's plans, why they wanted to build in Springfield, how he thinks they will be able to compete with other area casinos, and whether they think they will get a fair shot to build in the city.
Ameristar's plan is the most expensive of Springfield three options. More than $910 million. It's also the largest, 40 acres. Part of Ameristar's sell is that they are shovel ready and said they could have a casino open by the end of 2016. Here's a portion of it of the interview with Ameristar's CEO.
(The other proposals in Springfield have local partners. Do you feel that you're at a disadvantage at all because of some influence that may be going toward the city at this point?)
"Absolutely not. We're not interesting in lining the pockets of just a few people, we want to line the pockets of everybody in this city", says Kanofsky.
(The people in the RF1 proposals, all of them on that committee in Springfield, report directly to the Mayor. Are you concerned with Mayor Sarno having too much influence over this process?)
"Not at all. I think the Mayor has been very vocal about what his priorities are for seeing casino development in the city. The statute is very clear on what the state is interested in having. There's a balancing of those there", says Kanofsky.
(From the consultant to the mayor on down. Do you feel that Ameristar has been and will be given a fair shot in Springfield?)
"Absolutely, I see no reason why we wouldn't be", says Kanofsky.
(Between Penn National, MGM and Ameristar what sets your company apart?)
"Look I'm not going to bash either of my competitors they are both really good companies, but regional casinos is what Ameristar does only. We know how to do it, and we know how to work with communities. We come in and before we talk, we listen and we heard a lot of things from the community and you saw a lot of things come through in my proposal today. We have a traffic plan that going to cost us $58 million. We could have done one a lot cheaper, but it wouldn't have worked for the community", says Kanofsky.
The traffic plan is to have Ameristar pay for a series of frontage roads along 291 between Page Boulevard and St. James Avenue and a new overpass that will feed traffic into the casino property.