Years before a casino might open in downtown Springfield Massachusetts construction on new hotels is beginning. The people who sell the city as a tourist destination say it is a positive development.
A new 100 -room hotel is expected to open in downtown Springfield by the end of this year, and a groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled next week for a new six- story hotel that will also have nearly 100 guest rooms when it opens in about a year.
Both hotels were planned more than 5 years ago, but work stalled because of the recession and other factors. The fact that both projects are moving ahead is an indicator that business is turning around, according to Mary Kay Wydra, president of the Greater Springfield Visitors and Convention Bureau.
The new hotels will give travelers to Springfield more choices in prices and location.
Online destination guide cvent.com counts 29 hotels currently in Springfield with a total of 4200 rooms.
The Hampton Inn and Suites hotel is being built at the site of a former car dealership adjacent to Interstate 91. The Holiday Inn Express is on State Street right across from the MassMutual Center.
Both hotels will be within walking distance of the casino proposed by MGM Resorts. The casino project includes a 250 room hotel. MGM is competing with Hard Rock International in West Springfield and Mohegan Sun in Palmer for the lone casino license available in western Massachusetts.
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, in a statement, praised the hotel developers for their “believe and investment in the city of Springfield.”
The hotel that is slated to open by the end of the year on State Street is being built in a former office building by Epiphany Development an entity of the Holy Christian Orthodox church. The hotel profits are to be used for charitable purposes, according to Archbishop Timothy Baymon.
About 50 full-time jobs will be created by the hotel project. It was announced in 2006, but then encountered various delays. There was the recession, a change in hotel brand, and the discovery of asbestos at the construction site. The project was set back further when all of the windows in the eight story building were blown out and the façade damaged by the June 1st 2011 tornado.
Baymon, who is head of the Council of Churches of Western Massachusetts, led a fight against the MGM casino project. He said the success of the hotel is not tied to the casino.