Live chat: Ask MGM president Bill Hornbu...
 
11:52
Robert Rizzuto: 
Hello everyone, and thanks for joining us. Mr. Hornbuckle will be joining us at about 12:15 p.m. If you have questions, you can begin to type them in the Cover It Live module below and we will queue them up.
Wednesday December 12, 2012 11:52 Robert Rizzuto
12:15
Robert Rizzuto: 
Welcome to our live chat with MGM President Bill Hornbuckle. He is here to answer your questions and we are chatting live from the MassLive offices in Springfield.
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:15 Robert Rizzuto
12:16
[Comment From Ben Ben : ] 
Do you have any major restaurants lined up or spoken to any 'celebrity chef' types about coming to MGM Springfield?
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:16 Ben
12:16
Bill Hornbuckle: 
Hi everyone glad to be here with you today
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:16 Bill Hornbuckle
12:19
Bill Hornbuckle: 
We are approaching this from two perspectives - a local and national perspective. On a national stage we Michael Mina, Wolfgang Puck -- regional to the market we have talked to Lydia Shire and local restauranteurs. We are going to create a food market with comfort food, burgers, etc . La Fiorentina will provide our desserts and pastry products. We are in discussion with Red Rose to join our project and welcome them with open arms. We are in talks with other Boston chefs with international reputations.
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:19 Bill Hornbuckle
12:20
[Comment From Robert Eng Robert Eng : ] 
Do you think that Western Massachusetts has enough business to sustain a casino with competition from the Connecticut casinos and one in Eastern Mass? It seems like geographically we would be pulling visitors primarily an area west out to Albany, east out to Worcester, north to the southwestern regions of Vermont and New Hampshire, and south to Hartford (chopping with the CT casinos). Are there enough gamblers to keep business going? Both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun seem to be struggling even without competition from MA casinos.
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:20 Robert Eng
12:23
Bill Hornbuckle: 
Western MA presents a unique opportunity because of the structure of the licensing. There are 1,500,000 potential customers. We recognize the CT casino's have been hurt but the economy and what has happened in NY at Aquaduct. We understand Western MA customer base that we are comforted that with a long term deal we can support an $800 million investment.
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:23 Bill Hornbuckle
12:23
[Comment From Guest Guest : ] 
Welcome to Springfield Mr. Hornbuckle, what businesses that are currently Downtown do you think would be a good fit with MGM? Do you think that new businesses or existing ones would profit more co-existing with MGM? Also how will you deal with Springfield's known high crime rate in the Entertainment District?
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:23 Guest
12:26
Bill Hornbuckle: 
We have reached out to many existing businesses in the community and we understand their needs. We have designed the project outwardly facing with them in mind. In regard to public safety the reality of ensuring that appropriate resources are available with police and fire and emts. Today an exclusive endorsement was announced with the Springfield Police and Firefighters unions. Collectively we will to make the totality of Springfield a safer place.
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:26 Bill Hornbuckle
12:27
Robert Rizzuto: 
To read Reporter Pete Goonan's report about the Springfield police and fire unions endorsing the MGM casino proposal for the South End of the city, follow the link: http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2012/12/springfield_patrolmen_and_fire.html#incart_river_default
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:27 Robert Rizzuto
12:28
[Comment From Jim Fiorentino Jim Fiorentino : ] 
What would be the concept behind MGM taking over operations of the two municipal golf courses in Springfield? Would they become semi-private, private or remain public courses with Casino benefits? Please explain your thoughts behind this.
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:28 Jim Fiorentino
12:28
Mandy Hofmockel
MGM's proposed $800 million casino in downtown Springfield would be a mixture of new construction and renovation of existing buildings. Image from MGM Resorts International.
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:28 
12:29
Bill Hornbuckle: 
If we were to come collaboration with the Parks Commission for use with any golf courses we have no desire to privatize or displace local residents.
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:29 Bill Hornbuckle
12:30
[Comment From Eric Paul Eric Paul : ] 
I am a Springfield resident. I have seen our great city struggle since I was born in 1984. My homes value is very low, and it’s in great condition. Can I expect my property value to go up? What about my city taxes, will they be affected?
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:30 Eric Paul
12:31
Bill Hornbuckle: 
It has been our history that we are have a heavily taxed industry both by the state and the city. We would not envision an increased tax - property or otherwise.
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:31 Bill Hornbuckle
12:32
[Comment From Guest Guest : ] 
Hi - Heard Mr. Hornbuckle talk about "entertainment" and competing with LiveNation. Can you ask him where major acts will play? The MassMutual Center is too small for major acts to play and even MGM in Foxwoods has gone away from music and has mostly comedians
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:32 Guest
12:33
Mandy Hofmockel
This MGM submitted image shows a depiction of downtown Springfield.
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:33 
12:34
Bill Hornbuckle: 
Live Nation is not our competitor but our partner. They bring 60-70% of our arena entertainment content. We think we can bring nationally renowned acts to this area. While MMC is smaller than some it is still ideal for a vast majority of entertainment.
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:34 Bill Hornbuckle
12:35
[Comment From Jake Jake : ] 
Many companies talk about diversity. I just wanted to commend you and MGM for demonstrating your commitment with your representatives on stage at last night's forum.
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:35 Jake
12:36
Bill Hornbuckle: 
Thank you. Our commitment to diversity is deep rooted in our company. If you look back at our history and what we do throughout the markets we serve, I think you will be pleased by our corporate culture.
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:36 Bill Hornbuckle
12:37
[Comment From Deb Thompson Deb Thompson : ] 
My concern is traffic. You may have a plan in place for traffic as the infrastructure is set up currently. But according to local news outlets, in the not so distant future, the route 91 viaduct in Springfield is going to be replaced or reconstructed. How does this affect your current plans for building ramps and roads? The construction surrounding 91 may coincide with the opening of a new casino. What then?
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:37 Deb Thompson
12:39
Bill Hornbuckle: 
We have been in dialogue with MA DOT regarding scale and size of project. We are required to mitigate any conditions we bring on as a developer. We will continue to carry on that responsibility in coordination with MA DOT. At this point the scope and size of the I-91 project are not clear.
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:39 Bill Hornbuckle
12:40
Mandy Hofmockel: 
Read a recent story on the rehabilitation I-91 will need in the coming years: http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2012/10/big_dig-springfield_i-91_in_ci.html
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:40 Mandy Hofmockel
12:41
[Comment From Bob Bob : ] 
We consestantly hear about college grads not finding work, any plans on hiring recent college graduates?
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:41 Bob
12:42
Robert Rizzuto: 
And do you plan on engaging local colleges & universities for training programs for gaming dealers, etc?
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:42 Robert Rizzuto
12:43
Bill Hornbuckle: 
Absolutely. Each year through Management Associate Program - depending on our needs and development requirements we hire about 50 recent college grads. They go through an extensive training program. We have recruited from UMass Amherst. We have outreached to STCC and AIC to help us with front line training and supervisory management programs. We will have a heavy engagement with the community for training and use of their facilities and their training in combination with our own.
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:43 Bill Hornbuckle
12:44
[Comment From Guest Guest : ] 
Do you need to purchase additional land and/or acquire the rights to other parcels for the MGM plan to move forward? Which specific parcels are you still working on getting under contract?
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:44 Guest
12:46
Mandy Hofmockel
MGM plans to build an $800 million casino in downtown Springfield. Image from MGM International.
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:46 
12:47
Bill Hornbuckle: 
We have the totality of our site under control. It may take on different shapes and configurations based on how the project plans move forward. We are in the RFP process on the Zanetti School and former SECC site. We are hopeful that the city will see us as the strongest bidder. It is a key component to our overall plan.
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:47 Bill Hornbuckle
12:47
Robert Rizzuto: 
For more on MGM's bid on the former Zanetti School and the old state Armory Building from the Republican's Pete Goonan, check out his full report here: http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2012/12/mgm_resorts_seeks_to_buy_forme.html
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:47 Robert Rizzuto
12:48
[Comment From James James : ] 
In your original presentation here in Springfield you mentioned a Daycare facility that would be incorporated into the design. Would the operation of this be MGM's or open for local bid? I find that to be an incredible asset to the downtown district beyond gaming and entertainment.
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:48 James
12:50
Bill Hornbuckle: 
The Commonwealth requires as part of the license to have a child care facility on site. We are partnering with Square One. We are excited about their early childhood education programs and how they impact the community. We look forward to helping with their existing program today as well as helping them in the long term.
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:50 Bill Hornbuckle
12:51
[Comment From Guest Guest : ] 
Assuming everything goes smoothly, when is the earliest date you feel the doors will open to the new MGM complex?
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:51 Guest
12:52
Bill Hornbuckle: 
Once we are awarded a license - which we hope to get in late 2013 or early 2014. It would then take us 30 months to construct the project. That we give us an opening date in summer of 2016.
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:52 Bill Hornbuckle
12:53
[Comment From Wayne Wayne : ] 
Any long term strategy/thoughts about MGM being a key catalyst in bringing minor league baseball to Springfield
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:53 Wayne
12:55
Bill Hornbuckle: 
Interestingly, in designing and developing the project we asked the community through polls what they thought they wanted or needed. While I am a baseball fan and still to this day have a Yaz poster in my garage - the polls and the public have suggested there are other things have a higher priority. Starting with supporting current sports programs like the Falcons and the Armor.
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:55 Bill Hornbuckle
12:56
[Comment From Roger Roger : ] 
How does MGM's enormous debt load coupled with bankruptcy fears play into this?
Wednesday December 12, 2012 12:56 Roger
1:02
Bill Hornbuckle: 
MGM Resorts like many companies in the US went through a great recession with some difficulty in 2008 and 2009. At the time we successfully opened CityCenter a $9 billion project in Las Vegas. It remains the country's largest privately funded project ever. Adding and preserving 10,000 jobs. Something we are very proud of. Since that time we have been able to access the debt markets and refinance over $8 billion dollars of our companies debt by extending maturities and lowering interest rates. Putting us in extremely stable conditions receiving increased credit ratings from credit agencies and enabling us, if we need to, to write a check today for the totality of the project we are proposing in Springfield.
Wednesday December 12, 2012 1:02 Bill Hornbuckle
1:02
[Comment From Roger Roger : ] 
Are you going to spend 800 million all at once, or will this be "phased"?
Wednesday December 12, 2012 1:02 Roger
1:06
Bill Hornbuckle: 
The project that we have brought before the city would be done in one phase. This is the best way for MGM to help with economic development in the City of Springfield. We are hopeful the city and the state RFP processes will ultimately hold any development proponent accountable for the total project they propose.
Wednesday December 12, 2012 1:06 Bill Hornbuckle
1:07
[Comment From Phil F. Phil F. : ] 
Hello. Who is the contact person for local businesses wishing to seek opportunities to do business with the casino?
Wednesday December 12, 2012 1:07 Phil F.
1:08
Mandy Hofmockel
Bill Hornbuckle at MassLive.com
Wednesday December 12, 2012 1:08 
1:09
Bill Hornbuckle: 
We definitely want to continue to hear from people. We've already attended more than 200 community meetings throughout Springfield. We have a local team at our MGM Springfield Community Office located at 1441 Main Street Monday - Friday please come visit us. I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank folks who have already engaged with us and to encourage you to take a look at our website www.mgmspringfield.com. You can go to "Share Your Thoughts," where you will find a survey that we'd love you to fill out.
Wednesday December 12, 2012 1:09 Bill Hornbuckle
1:10
Robert Rizzuto: 
We appreciate the MassLive.com readers joining us today and a big thank you to Bill Hornbuckle and the MGM team for sitting down and answering the questions today. If there are any questions we didn't get to, feel free to pass them along to feedback@masslive.com or directly to info@mgmspringfield.com.
Wednesday December 12, 2012 1:10 Robert Rizzuto
 
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