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Pr. George's speeds up application process as work starts at casino

Monday - 4/21/2014, 7:46am  ET

Heavy construction equipment is on the way to a 23-acre parcel of land near the  National Harbor as work will begin shortly on the $925-million luxury gambling resort,  according to a report from the Washington Post.

It's been four months since a Maryland commission awarded MGM Resorts International a casino license, the sixth and final one for the state, as Prince George's County Council officials are finalizing an agreement that ensures  local hiring as well as contracting for the project. The  Prince George's Planning Board still has a public hearing on the casino-end of things. That's scheduled for May 8.

Gordon M. Absher, a spokesperson for MGM Resorts International, told the Post, “We are moving forward on multiple fronts,” adding “our goal is for there to be no loss of time at all, and as soon as we have all the paperwork from the county, we are ready to go. There will be no lag.”

If all goes as planned, work could begin as soon as July as a construction team needs to be put together for the upscale gaming site, with 140 gaming tables, a 300-suite glass-tower hotel, 3,600 slot machines, as well as a concert theater, restaurants, a spa and high-end stores, all set to open in July 2016.

Absher also added “We are very cognizant of the deadline, and we very much would like to be able to open as close as possible to that date so that Maryland and the county can begin reaping the benefits of the revenue that we will generate.”

As we told you earlier,  developers wanted to get moving  on the massive project before the end of April. 

Time is money, and the time frame leaves little room for delays, with county officials recognizing a lot of money is at stake, with MGM already investing $50 million to bring the industry to the county.  We reported earlier  on some possible delays.

Some $2 million a day in losses is projected if the project runs into any delays, with council member Andrea C. Harrison (D-Springdale) saying at a recent meeting,“We know that it takes time to get this done, but the longer it takes, the more money that it costs.”

Those county residents who still oppose the project will have a chance to raise concerns during the planning board’s public hearing next month. Some think the county is moving too fast.

One activist, Jerry Mathis, asked during a recent council meeting, “What is the rush?” wanting the county to get MGM’s commitment for minority contracting for all aspects of the project, not just construction.

Zeno W. St. Cyr II, president of the Riverbend Citizens Homeowners Association and supporter of the development, said “I think there are reasonable minds on both sides who can get together, work things out, hammer out a deal, so that the project stays on track”.

© 2014 American City Business Journals, Inc.