Ameristar ends quest for WMass casino - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Ameristar ends quest for WMass casino

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

Ameristar, which had planned a $910 million casino project, announced Friday that it will not move forward with its bid.

The Westinghouse property off Page Boulevard as recently as Friday afternoon had plans to house a $900 million resort casino off Interstate-291 for shopping, restaurants and a hotel.

But those plans stopped with this statement sent to CBS 3 by Ameristar:

"The company concluded that there is not a sufficient likelihood that the basis upon which it could be awarded the license to develop and operate a casino in Springfield is favorable enough to warrant its further pursuit."

The abrupt decision is catching some city councilor members off-guard.

"It's kind of bizarre seeing as though they've invested here in the city, they've purchased this land, they've cleared this land," said President of Springfield City Council James Ferrera.

Mayor Domenic Sarno reacted in a statement sent to CBS 3.

"Obviously the city is very disappointed in Ameristar's decision to withdraw from the competition to locate a world class resort casino in Springfield."

But it's the reason why they're pulling out that's upsetting other city councilors. In their statement, Ameristar reps point to the city's process as part of the reason for their leaving.

"Specifically, the local selection process, various project requirements and associated costs led to the decision to reserve Ameristar's resources for the company's growth and diversification for other more attractive opportunities."

"We need to find out what happened and make sure this doesn't drive anyone else away who's willing to put this amount of money in the city," said City Council Member John Lysak.

Some residents who live nearby are disappointed to see a potential job creator now gone.

"It's really disappointing only because of the fact that it would have created a lot of jobs, security, it could have brought up a lot of businesses in the area," said Liz Gagnon, Springfield resident.

"There's probably not going to be much opportunity now for people to find work," said Steve Maruca.

Others are glad to see it go.

"I live right down the street, there's enough traffic up here now, enough's enough," said Chris Pohner.

MGM and Penn National are both still in the running for downtown casinos.

It remains to be seen what Ameristar will now do with their plot of land.

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