The Voice of Reason

Concept: Downtown Casino

48 posts in this topic

So, lets say that the city ponies up 15 Million, purchases, then hands over the surface parking lot on Allyn to Mohican Sun.

This site would be linked to NYC by commuter rail and eventually, High speed rail... This site would be 1 block from the XL center, and therefore a draw much the same way the Mohican sun Arena is for them in Montville. The casino would benefit from the rail connections N and S so people in springfield, and maybe even some day Montreal could hop a train to attend an event or have a gambling weekend. the Convention business in Hartford would possibly double, bringing far more customers to the casino than anything that could be replicated in Montville. Mid sized convention space would probably be part of the casino because that just what casinos do, but probably like less than 70k sf, because that parking lot is full on 100k sf. and it would be a good thing because it would add to the space at XL, and be busy with events far more often than things are today. it would also allow the ct convention center to focus on larger events(events it would now actually attract due to the lure of the casino as well as the likely 1000 room hotel on top of the casino.

I can only assume a fairly large hotel tower on top of it all. this would surely be the biggest in the city and likely would not only be quite full, it would help all the other hotels draw guests and surely lead to some other nearby development into hotels.

Now here is the real kicker. the land would be a gift, so the casino would have a few design rules... they would need to keep the complex street facing with retail like a normal city building. Imagine a normal looking building like say anything on Pratt, and you would walk into Vaughns, but you can also walk right though and out the back into the casino. The city would need to "limit" the amount of mall activity on the interior encouraging the casino to engage the local business community in the city to offer similar deals to what the casino's malls do now(rewards points schemes etc...)

The point being that because the 180 Allyn street property is smack between the XL center and the train station, it is perfect for a casino. The casino would benefit from the mass transit connections as well as from "post game" crowds. also any event in Hartford would benefit from the added attraction of casino gambling and increased vibrancy on the streets.

I honestly believe the results of this little gem would lead to an expansion of the convention center and the marriott, with larger conventions.... a new or renovated arena with a pro sports team, and likely additional transit improvements , from enhanced commuter rail timetables(later hours) the development of the Waterbury rail line, significant improvements to Bradley flight options (domestically mainly) as well as its access to customers because of the rail, and possibly some sort of circulator type transit option such as a trolly between the CT convention center, the XL, the Casino, and the Train station, with maybe extentions to West Hartford, and the meadows or Rentschler.

Amazingly with this subject talked about dozens of times on here there are actually no threads set up, except for one that immediately went way into politics...

So, Why not a downtown Casino?

I know, that ship has sailed and Weiker did amazing damage by not letting Wynn build downtown 20 years ago but it might not be a bad time.

I know the industry is shifting and casinos are everywhere these days, so there would be nothing special about a casino.. But I still think it has merit due to the commuter rail and its being downtown and part of the city.

The CT casinos are at risk of more and more competition especially now in MA. There are 4 proposals right now for the 1 license in Western MA. Most of them are in rural W MA between Springfield and Worcester. one is in Palmer MA, one is the former Westinghouse site (page blvd) in Springfield. With the Springfield one offering no different feel than any of the rural casinos, and I think the downtown casino would be nice. ever been inside NYNY in vegas? it has a little downtown feel, but gambling around. Allyn Street could be like that, nice stores and restaurants, then, 10 feet away on the inside, you got slots.

I wonder though, would the planned casino in Western MA still be interesting if there was one in Hartford? Downtown Hartford? surrounded by local restaurants, 1 block from an Arena? 1 block from a commuter rail station?

I don't think it could compete!

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This is a good idea. It has been a good idea for a long time. I like the location you suggest.

Here's the key, now that Abe is dead, how do we get $1000,000 to him? Which unions get to build to build the casino so they can funnel the money back to Malloy?

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ahh, but you forget, Mayor pedro is not a crook, at least I dont think so.

besides, Abe likely made a deal with the devil, so that the devil has full access to the north end warehouse he owned in exchange for no bid parking contracts in purgatory. Abe is making millions in the afterlife.

a semi honest answer to your completely redundent question is that this block would become Indian land, therefore outside out laws, so the union thing would not be an issue. the tribe could hire through competitive means, and get a lot of red tape cleared up. I do think that the 25% tax on slot revenues the casinos pay should be split between the state and the city so the city would get 30% and have to spend that money on just 2 things.... education and police. Each casino currently pays about 15 million a month to the state, so this new casino I think should provide at least 5 million a month to the city. the casino would of course have to run security inside and outside the property as well as having medical personelle and fire protection like they do down in NL county. so yeah this way the casino would help the city not by paying taxes for the property or whatever, but by the increased sales taxes paid by all the increased revenues(hotel stays shopping etc) but the states cut would be pointed a little more directly at the education issue and security issues in hartford.

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That ship has sailed. As you mention, Hartford had a golden opportunity in the 1990's courtesy of Steve Wynn. It wouldnt have cost the state or city a dime. Opposition to the casino stated that downtown would become another Atlantic City (funny no one brought up Vegas, Monaco, etc) and morons like mayor Carrie Perry stated that gambling downtown would do nothing more than take advantage of the city's poor. I guess job creation and economic development never entered the equation in her pea-brain. Fast forward to today and downtown and Hartford in general in sooooooo much better shape than it was then ***sarcasm***. The proposed land is not only still vacant, but has become larger and the grand list of downtown has gotten smaller while vacant commercial spaces are way up. This city/state has no vision and does not have the ability to look at the big picture. You want people from Boston and New York to spend the weekend in Hartford? That was our chance. They weren't coming here to see the Mark Twain house then, and they aren't now.

Instead, Mohegan Sun was built, and both Foxwoods and Mohegan have expanded many times, siphoning off concerts, sporting events, restaurants, nightclubs and general nightlife from downtown and the state gets a measly 10% of slot revenues. And now the governor of Massachusettes has agreed to allow the construction of 3 casinos in that state. We missed the boat. Even if we do it now, it is too little too late. Everyone else has a head start.

Imagine how different downtown would be today had that crook of a governor Lowell Weicker made a deal with Wynn for his casino/entertainment complex almost 20 years ago.

Edited by Luca Brasi

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I am not entirely sure that ship has sailed completely.

how big is this western MA casino supposed to be? and how much business will it pull from NYC?

the 180 Allyn street location with high speed rail access to NYC, not to mention New Haven, B-port, Stamford etc...

the thing is that Mohegan was gonna spend a billion to expand just a few years ago. thats off for now and they are one of the four bidders for the 1 casino going into western MA. they are clearly interested in the area. they want 2500 slots, 600 hotel rooms and a ballroom that can hold 1500 for events in a 600,000,000 proposal.

I simply say that using the commuter rail as a convenience, the access to Bradley, and the existing assets of downtown Hartford, this still has exceptional potential.

and I suspect they would be interested still. I also suspect it would still be a very big asset to hartford, if done correctly.

I think what Wynn wanted(where state house square now stands) would have kind of taken over the city in a bad way because there was no strong vision for the city, but we will never know.

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I think what Wynn wanted(where state house square now stands) would have kind of taken over the city in a bad way because there was no strong vision for the city, but we will never know.

If I remember correctly, this was proposed north of the downtown core - across I-84. The president of the Hartford Graduate Center wasn't thrilled by the offer of relocating to a "marvelous suburban campus". It would have also involved tearing down the Barnard Brown elementary school.

Anyways, there seems to be enough vacant land in this city to build just about anything without having to sacrifice anything.

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The site plan north of I-84 downtown would have been built on the sea of parking lots that are there now as you mention Bill. The plan was not a typical self-contained complex, but one that opened to the rest of downtown and included hotels, housing, theaters, an ice skating rink, restaurants, shopping, etc. Only a small percentage of the plan was devoted to casino space.

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This would be an absolutely fantastic proposal.

I also feel like that ship has sailed but you never really know. I think the state would have to pretty much assure Foxwoods and Mohegan that they would have some stake in this or they would lobby so hard against it that it would never happen. If, on the other hand, they are assured to be partners in it then they'll lobby just as hard in support of it. It will be very difficult for the current CT casinos to ever be more than a northeastern regional draw unless another air travel option opens up in that part of the state at some point.

A casino in downtown Hartford would be completely different in that it would be easily accessible from anywhere in the world. I do think it would be smart for the state to look into though with the fact that there will be new competition springing up all around us in the near future. If they build a casino in Springfield or Palmer I think it will have a huge impact on the numbers of people from greater Hartford who patronize the SE CT Casinos. A Downtown Casino would be a huge shot in the arm for Hartford and always would have been. Hartford is at no risk for turning into Atlantic City and even Atlantic City is hugely more successful as a tourism destination than any city in CT.

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Why not two casino's downtown, one for each tribe...

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One thing. The best location for a casino would be attached to the Convention Center on Columbus Avenue across from Front Street. Making it convention friendly would have a positive effects on the CCC to draw a greater number of events. And that benefits the entire city.

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while being attached to a convention center or arena or whatever would be ideal, the key factor would for this to be part of the city and not a city amongst itself, so right on allen works for that, and... the one true key factor would be mass transit from NYC, and the commuter rail would provide that. also lets not forget that this imaginary downtown casino would be not only connected to NYC , New jersey, long island etc... it will one day be connected to Montreal, and other regional cities. and when you think about being able to say hop the T to the train station, and then ride the high-speed rail to springfield then on to Hartford, It would be the only such casino, and its convenience alone would be a bigger asset than having a convention center. also, I doubt a convention would not choose hartford because the casino and convention center are not connected. certainly the convention centers bookings would be greatly increased with a casino in town.

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The problem is that Massachusetts is already planning casinos, and anyone from Boston would go there first. Montreal has had their own casino for over a decade (maybe two), so I can't imagine they'd come here when they have their own...

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it would lose a lot of the boston people for sure, but they could come by train is my point, and a train accessible casino would make up its losses from NY. how many people in NYC metro dont have cars and rely on trains... thats the key to me.

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Train accessible, that doesn't make any sense. The numbers are so low they wouldn't even provide a marginal increase for a casino.

Putting a casino near the Convention Center begins to build a downtown entertainment district. You have the Waterfront, Convention Center, the Science Museum, The Wadsworth, maybe movie Theaters, maybe a Music Venue and a Casino. That gets you near the critical mass to actually draw people. Basing the placement on rail transportation is far less important than gaining an entertainment district.

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we will just have to agree to completely disagree :)

what you describe to me is what every rural casino in America currently offers.

also I suspect you have not witnessed the hoards of people that come from NY by bus and train to get on the Orient ferry etc.. to get to the casinos near Norwich. downtown, true down is already an entertainment district. dozens of bars and restaurants.. 3 theaters, 1 sports area/concert venue. hell a casino could open a bowling alley and casino easily. I honestly don't think either part of downtown would make much of a difference either way when it comes to critical mass, but by the train station you gain mass transit, and with the commuter rail and eventual high speed rail, the additional access would be stunning, and like no other casino in America.

but again, agree to disagree I guess.

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we will just have to agree to completely disagree :)

what you describe to me is what every rural casino in America currently offers.

also I suspect you have not witnessed the hoards of people that come from NY by bus and train to get on the Orient ferry etc.. to get to the casinos near Norwich. downtown, true down is already an entertainment district. dozens of bars and restaurants.. 3 theaters, 1 sports area/concert venue. hell a casino could open a bowling alley and casino easily. I honestly don't think either part of downtown would make much of a difference either way when it comes to critical mass, but by the train station you gain mass transit, and with the commuter rail and eventual high speed rail, the additional access would be stunning, and like no other casino in America.

but again, agree to disagree I guess.

You kind of lost me with the rural casino thing. They all are close to a world class museum like the Wadsworth? Or the Science Center? Or a Convention Center with half a million square feet? All within a couple of blocks of each other, I believe you are under estimating how unique a situation already exists.

Of course, all gambling is going on-line soon, so maybe the point is moot.

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With Mohegan and Foxwoods joining forces, Hartford could be a major player instead of talk of putting it in Windsor, East Windsor, or any of the northern suburbs. The land in the north end of town next to 91 seems prime?

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I think most of us here agree on that.  there was a topic on that a while back.  Best location would have to be Hartford, and it should be sure to include more than gambling... it needs to be something that has additional value.. like well, in Auckland there is a sky needle attatched to the sky city casino

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I think most of us here agree on that. there was a topic on that a while back. Best location would have to be Hartford, and it should be sure to include more than gambling... it needs to be something that has additional value.. like well, in Auckland there is a sky needle attatched to the sky city casino

Well in general a casino, to compete with Springfield,, but yeah further development would also be a major component to the area as well. Edited by drc72

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Why another casino? What we need is not another casino, but something that bring high paying jobs to the state.

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Why another casino? What we need is not another casino, but something that bring high paying jobs to the state.

That's obviously not happening these days, so why not a casino if the tribes are willing to build it? Edited by drc72

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I agree that a casino in Hartford makes sense.  It is at the crossroads of I-84 and I-91.  And still just 20 minutes from the border.

 

However, I think the location needs to be closer to the other attractions rather than a stand alone box in the north meadows.  I would suggest the follow site (highlighted in orange). Or being creative, perhaps, building it above the Whitehead Highway.  That way it helps sell the CCC as a destination and the increase in traffic helps Front Street and downtown business. That way it has a multiplier effect rather than just an island near Windsor.

 

16979286921_312b976c71.jpg 

 

 

Another option would be to place a casino at the junction of I-91 and 1-84 (as shown in orange). Making it part of the new near north would enhance development in that part of the city.  It would still be walking distance from the CCC and most of the downtown hotels.

 

 

 

16979936002_7611aff50d.jpg

Edited by beerbeer

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Do you think casinos are going to turn Hartford around? If you think it will, take a look at Atlantic City. Did the casinos help Atlantic City? No, even when the Atlantic City's casinos were thriving, two blocks from the casinos, AC looked like a third world hellhole.

Hartford needs something different. A casino is not going to help. Will families visit casinos? No... you need to have family friendly places. (A replica of Mr. Block's Onrust and a Dutch history museum.)

(Maybe if the hall of fames I talked about in the 9 pillars, along with the Onrust) it would help tourism.

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Do you think casinos are going to turn Hartford around? If you think it will, take a look at Atlantic City. Did the casinos help Atlantic City? No, even when the Atlantic City's casinos were thriving, two blocks from the casinos, AC looked like a third world hellhole.

Hartford needs something different. A casino is not going to help. Will families visit casinos? No... you need to have family friendly places. (A replica of Mr. Block's Onrust and a Dutch history museum.)

(Maybe if the hall of fames I talked about in the 9 pillars, along with the Onrust) it would help tourism.

 

First, Hartford does not need to be turned around, it has a depth of cultural and historic treasures few cities of it size possess. Connecticut's problems are at the state level, the economy is awful and the state is bleeding jobs. And we all know why.

 

And we are not talking about casinos, we are talking about one casino. Atlantic city is irrelevant. That city is based on gambling. This is more like the casino near O'Hare in Chicago or the couple in New Orleans. Boston is putting in one. That will not turn them into Atlantic City.

 

A Hartford casino acts as another amenity for the city.  One that protects the city and the down state gambling industry from the new MGM going up in Springfield. It will be a small profit center. It will be another attraction for convention attendees. 

 

And, perhaps, you didn't hear the news about the minor league ballpark.  It is an example of a new venue that promotes family based entertainment as well.  One doesn't need to pick between the two. Both are good for the city.

Edited by beerbeer

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