The art of a ($200M) deal

The art of a ($200M) deal

Posted in the Fitchburg Forum

Mayor talents

Fitchburg, MA

#1 Jul 10, 2013
The art of a ($200M) deal

By Jack Minch, jminch@sentinelandenterprise.c om

Posted: 07/10/2013 07:02:54 AM EDT

LEOMINSTER -- Nothing happens on a proposed $200 million slots casino on Jungle Road until the development firm signs a host-community agreement with the city spelling out its obligations to that community, Mayor Dean Mazzarella said Tuesday.

He and city department heads met with representatives for The Cordish Companies for the first time Monday afternoon.

"This is not my first time out of the barn," Mazzarella said. "This is what I've done. I'm a trained mediator and arbitrator."

The Cordish Companies is proposing a slots casino with electronic games at 42 Jungle Road and an adjacent vacant lot.

The state plans to issue three licenses for full casinos and one license for a slots parlor. One full casino will be

SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / JOHN LOVE David Cordish, chairman of The Cordish Companies, was at the Sentinel & Enterprise on Tuesday to talk about the proposed slots they would bring to Leominster.
placed in each of three regions in the state, but the slots casino can go wherever developers find a suitable spot. The state plans to issue a slot-machine casino license by the end of the year.
The City Council will not be involved in negotiating the host agreement. Its responsibility is to decide whether to put the issue before voters in a referendum.

The council needs to vote by the end of the month for The Cordish Companies to meet a state-imposed deadline.

"Basically, the slots application -- the completed slots application -- is due to the commission on Oct., 4, 2013," Gaming Commission spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said. "In order to submit a completed application, it requires a signed host agreement and also the results

COURTESY THE CORDISH COmpanieS An artist's rendering shows The Cordish Companies' proposed slots parlor, center, off Jungle Road on the Leominster-Lancaster line at Interstate 190, top, and Route 117, left. At bottom left is Walmart.
from a positive referendum."
A referendum vote requires a 60-day notice to the community and that would take the project close to the deadline.

The last regularly scheduled council meeting is July 22 but a meeting could be called for July 29, councilors said at the end of Monday's meeting.

If the council OKs the referendum, and Leominster voters approve it, the proposal would then have to be chosen by the state gaming commission as the lone slot parlor.

If Cordish's plan for Leominster is selected, construction would take 12 to 14 months.

"It's a matter of how long it takes to (get a) permit," said Cordish President Joseph Weinberg during an editorial board meeting with the Sentinel & Enterprise Tuesday.

COURTESY THE CORDISH COmpanies The exterior of The Cordish Companies' proposed slots parlor in Leominster.

Mazzarella is working with attorney Jonathan Silverstein, of City Solicitor Kopelman & Paige and who concentrates on casino regulations, to negotiate a Leominster host agreement.

The Jungle Road site is home of McCarty Cos., which is the casino project's civil-engineering firm, and Innovative Mold Solutions.

The host agreement will cover myriad issues, including how much the casino will pay the city, the hiring of local workers and the purchasing of supplies locally, Mazzarella said.

"Essentially, the Gaming Act requires that an agreement is signed between the applicant and the host community governing body that addresses the impacts the gaming facility will have on that community," Driscoll said.

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