by Sarah J.F. Braley | January 08, 2016

Developers of the $950 million MGM Springfield casino resort in Massachusetts are set to begin demolition of the Zanetti School on the project's site on Tuesday morning, now that state and city environmental and zoning approvals have come through. The former elementary school suffered damage in 2011 when a tornado ravaged Springfield's South End.

MGM Springfield will rise on 14.5 acres of land between Union and State streets, and Columbus Avenue and Main Street. New designs for the casino resort currently are being considered by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. In November, MGM president Bill Hornbuckle said, "We are very proud of MGM Springfield's improved design. Our commitment to the city of Springfield, the region and the commonwealth has never wavered... We are as ready as we have ever been to help return downtown Springfield to its glory days."

MGM Springfield officials want to move the planned 250-room hotel and market-rate apartments off-site to promote ancillary development opportunities.

MGM Springfield now is expected to cost $100 million more than the original estimate.