The new $950 million MGM Springfield casino is well underway on 14.5 acres of downtown Springfield and the developers are saving part of the past for the future.
One of the buildings on the demolition list is the old Union House hotel that provided lodging for two U.S. presidents, James Polk and James Buchanan. The hotel was grand in its day. In an 1846 article for The Daily Republican, the writer describes the hotel’s features including: rented stores on the first floor, a “handsomely decorated skylight” filled with stained glass; a “Gentlemen’s Parlor” and “Ladies public parlors”; and a kitchen, pastry rooms and dining room. The second story contained “eight spacious private parlors, with sleeping rooms attached.”
Preservationists and the city’s Historical Commission reached an agreement to save the hotel’s façade, which will be incorporated into the MGM development.
The MGM project has been promised to create a minimum of 2,000 construction jobs and once open, hire at least 3,000 workers, of which at least 2,200 will be employed on a full-time equivalent basis with benefits.
The casino is scheduled for a late 2018 grand opening.
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