Hard Rock Casino Plans Expansions in MA / OH
The Hard Rock Casino, which operates 174 entertainment properties in 53 different countries worldwide, 16 of which are combination hotel and casino resorts, has submitted an application to the state of Massachusetts to open a casino at the Eastern States Exposition fairgrounds, located in the city of West Springfield. Currently the fairgrounds is the host of the Big E Agricultural fair.
While agricultural fairs and Hard Rock don’t exactly seem to go hand in hand, the company has big plans for the property if they are granted a license by the state. Hard Rock has already forked over a $400,000 application fee to Massachusetts officials.
The company, which is perhaps most famous for its Hard Rock Cafe restaurants, the first of which was opened in London in 1971, plans to devote 40 acres of the 175 acre fairgrounds property to its resort. The casino/hotel will feature such amenities as shopping, dining, a rooftop pool, a spa, concert venue, rock n’ roll museum, and about 25,000 square feet of convention space. Hard Rock plans to spend between $700 million and $800 million developing the property.
Hard Rock has also recently broken ground on a racino resort property in Northfield, Ohio, a city near Cleveland. The racino is located at the site of Northfield Park, a racetrack for harness racing that enjoys a colorful history, having first been opened in 1934 by Al Capone as a venue for midget car racing originally called Sportsman Park. The park was also formerly owned by New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.
At the Northfield Park Racino, 200,000 square feet will be devoted to video lottery terminals, dining, a music venue with nearly 2,000 seats, a comedy club to seat 250 people, and of course, a Hard Rock Cafe. The company has released artist renderings and expects construction to get underway in the coming weeks.
The owner of Northfield Park, Brock Milstein, said of the project, “Everything is moving forward now. All the financing is in place … We’re going to start to see some serious construction here in the next couple of weeks.”
Hard Rock is not the only big name to be starting off the new year with new casino projects. Also in Massachusetts, Steve Wynn, the man who pretty much invented the modern resort casino, is joining the competition to open a casino in the city of Boston. A sole license will be granted there, with a partnership between Suffolk Downs and Caesars also clamoring for the privilege.
Wynn has an option to purchase a 37-acre parcel of land near the waterfront in Everett, a site that is environmentally contaminated as a result of its prior tenant, a Monsanto chemical facility. Six acres of the land lie in Boston, however Wynn says he will not utilize that portion of the property.
Wynn’s vision for the parcel includes building the “fanciest hotel in the Boston area” with 300 to 500 rooms, a casino, as well as a conference center.
“It will have superior rooms, first-class services, shows. It will have short hallways and fast elevators . . . It’s going to be a big attraction,” Wynn said.
Applicants vying for the Boston license have until the 15th of this month to submit their applications to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which plans to thoroughly review all submissions.
In an emailed statement, head of the commission Elaine Driscoll said, “The commission is focused on creating an environment that supports a robust competitive process which will ultimately maximize job creation and economic development for the residents of the Commonwealth.”
We’ll be monitoring the application race in Massachusetts, so check back for updates and future developments.