The Springfield Historical Commission has met several times with MGM over the past 20 months in an attempt to lessen the impact of the casino complex on historic assets. The MGM campus is bounded by State Street, Union Street, Main Street, and East Columbus Avenue, except for Red Rose Pizza, Berkshire Bank, and 33 and 55 State Street. There are thirteen structures of varying degrees of historic concern ranging from buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places to buildings which might be eligible for listing.
To date, MGM has agreed to:
- refurbish the Massachusetts Mutual Building, 1200 Main Street for its offices;
- relocate the Spiritualist Church, 33 Bliss Street, to Union Street near Willow Street and reuse as part of its daycare center;
- retain the façade and incorporate the Beaux Arts atrium of the United Electric Building, 73 State Street, as part of its hotel;
- retain the façade and Art Deco lobby of the 95 State Building, 85-95 State Street, as part of its gaming hall and food court
- echo the façade of the Edisonia Building, 1156-1176 Main Street, as part of a new four-story building with ground floor shops and upper floor apartments
The Commission will accept total demolition of the Turnverein Block, 79-83 State Street; Rescue Mission on Bliss Street; former VFW on Bliss Street; Zanetti School on Howard Street; and Saint Joseph’s Rectory on Howard Street
MGM and the Commission are still discussing treatment of three buildings.
MGM is now proposing to retain the Main Street façade of Union House, 1132-1142 Main Street, and a portion of its Bliss Street façade. The Commission wants more of the 1846 building retained.
MGM is still proposing to demolish the former YWCA on Howard Street. The Commission wants its ornate façade recreated on the south wall of the gaming hall.
MGM is proposing to retain the front half of the State Armory on Howard Street as a restaurant. The Commission wants the back half also retained.
The fate of casinos in the Commonwealth remains up in the air until the statewide November 4 election. If the gaming law remains in place, the MGM proposal will need to be reviewed by the Massachusetts Historical Commission.
On a related matter, the City sold the Armory to MGM in late July. The request of the Springfield Historical Commission that it be conveyed with an exterior preservation restriction was ignored.