MGM Resorts International announced last month that Gensler will design their proposed Rolling Hills Resort Casino project in Brimfield, MA. The leading international architecture firm was chosen largely because of their recently completed MGM City Center project in Las Vegas, which they claim to be the largest private sustainable development in the world.
In addition to Gensler, Davenport Companies has been chosen for development of the project, along with Ventry Associates as the project advisers. These partnerships are dependent on Rolling Hills being chosen as the sole casino for Western Massachusetts, under the state’s new casino gambling bill. MGM signed a contract with Rolling Estates Realty Trust in early January to option 150 acres in Brimfield, which they plan to connect directly to the Massachusetts Turnpike, 65 miles west of Boston. Competing resorts have been proposed in Springfield, Palmer and Holyoke.
To solve traffic issues that are anticipated with the development of a casino resort, MGM would like to build $300 million worth of infrastructure to support this development, including roads, ramps, bridges and a tollbooth. So far, traffic has been the largest concern to Brimfield’s 3,500 residents. A proposed highway interchange would feed directly to the new casino, while creating at least one connection to a public road. Current thinking would link the interchange to a country road in the neighboring town of Warren, in hopes to spur economic development in both towns. The largest setback that they may face in realizing this vision, if they were to beat out the three other casino resort proposals, would be the regulatory barriers to build a new highway interchange. The approvals process for infrastructure of this scope would be debated at the town, state and federal levels, before the Federal Highway Administration would make a final ruling.
The project team remains confident however that the Rolling Hills Resort Casino would be a successful addition to the fabric of western Massachusetts, and maintain a high level of sustainable integrity,under the guidance of their newly selected architects. Gensler is a member of the Business Council on Climate Change, and was ranked the #1 Green Design Firm by Engineering News Record.
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3. Citybiz, Gensler Wins Design Contract for MGM’s Rolling Hills Resort, Jan. 30, 2012