By Nick Mallard, nmallard@sentinelandenterprise .com
Posted: 07/08/2013 07:00:43 AM EDT
AP PHOTO Casino patrons play some of the 600 slot machines at the Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin shortly after its grand opening in Farmington, Pa. The $60 million project is said to have created more than 350 construction jobs, and received about 2,500 job applications for 500 jobs. The Leominster City Council will hear a proposal tonight from Maryland-based Cordish Cos. and local developer Dan McCarty to bring a slots parlor to the city.
LEOMINSTER -- The search for prime real estate has brought a slot-parlor proposal to North Central Massachusetts.
A local developer and a real-estate and entertainment operations company will present their proposal for a slot-machine establishment in Leominster to the City Council tonight at 6:15, putting the wheels in motion for a slot parlor potentially off Route 117.
The Cordish Cos.-- a Baltimore-based operation that has opened several hotels and casinos across the country -- has partnered with local developer Dan McCarty of Leominster-based McCarty Cos. to devise the proposal. They hope to snag the lone slot-parlor license available in the state, for which applicants can apply through Oct. 4.
"They're coming before
the City Council to share their ideas. It's an opportunity for them to present their proposal," Leominster City Council President Susan Chalifoux Zephir said Sunday. "We're hoping residents of Leominster will look into it, whether they watch on (LATV) or come to the meeting."
Should the council deem it a viable plan, the proposal would be put to a public vote at a date to be determined, with the cost of holding the referendum paid for by the companies.
Ward 2 Councilor Wayne Nickel said the proposal would be on a section of land off Jungle Road, which runs past the Leominster Walmart on Route 117, off Interstate 190.
"It's a good location for most businesses to look at," Nickel said. "You have 190 and Route 2 coming together
AP PHOTO Chips on a blackjack table in the Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin, located about 70 miles south of Pittsburgh shortly after its grand opening. A Maryland company is teaming with a local developer to propose a slots parlor for an area along Route 117 off Interstate 190 in Leominster.
not far from it. It's a good location. You can get traffic coming from the south in Worcester and east-west along Route 2."
Nickel and Chalifoux Zephir noted the facility would house only slot machines, though the proposal likely would include multiple restaurants and shops.
"It seems like they've done some major projects in the past," Nickel said. "And given the area, it wouldn't be a massive resort, and it would be limited to slots."
Chalifoux Zephir realizes the idea of a slot parlor in the city would be a polarizing concept.
"It would increase tax revenue and add both ongoing and construction jobs," she stated. "But there's going to be cons to go with the pros. There are certainly people who are anti-gambling, especially when it comes to the city where they live."
The Cordish Cos. presented a similar proposal to the Salisbury Board of Selectmen a week ago, but saw it shot down by a 3-2 vote. That proposal was for a 120,000-square-foot facility, three restaurants, a theater and a parking garage, according to the Eagle-Tribune of North Andover. It was reported that those against it cited the short time frame in reaching an agreement and setting up the necessary referendum.
"We are very enthusiastic about the Massachusetts market and look forward to working with the state and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on our application," Cordish Managing Partner Joe Weinberg said in a statement in January, when Cordish applied for a gaming license.
Cordish's casino-development portfolio includes Hard Rock casinos in Hollywood and Tampa, Fla.
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