September 03, 2007

Letter to the Editor

From the Telegram:

It was interesting to read in the newspaper that Saint-Gobain was planning to expand its Northboro facility by 55,000 square feet to accommodate an additional 300 employees (Telegram & Gazette, Aug. 25). When Norton first established the Northboro facility, it would have been easier to have put it in Worcester. There was plenty of spare land at Norton’s Greendale plant and the facility would have been closer to other facilities which used similar technology. Norton management, however, decided not to locate in Worcester because, despite many open and closed meetings with the City Council, there was no willingness on the city’s part to stop discriminating in the tax rate against business. That discrimination continues and, in fact, has become more entrenched in the attitudes of all city councilors.

It is useless to indulge in pipe dreams like a letter writer in the same edition of the T&G who stated that development would take place in Main South if the PIP shelter and Centro Las Americas were removed. Worcester’s City Council and administration should aim to make Worcester an attractive urban bedroom community for people who work in the suburbs or Boston and forget about attracting any business here. Of course, because there will be so little business, the residential tax rate will soar.



Anonymous said...

Interesting.........."open & CLOSED MEETINGS"...........council is either violating open meeting laws or discussing tax issues in CLOSED called executive this a bit of an unusual for an closed meeting topic??

It just hit me that the council basically kiboshed and /or drove out a similar Norton Co proposal back in mid 80's....a trash to energy plant that would have generated tipping fee revenue and electricity for use at Nortons.........the plant was to be built nexxt to I 190........anyone think the 300 new jobs would have stayed here if the new facility had free/less expensive electricity ?

Anonymous said...

Not to harp too much on my sell ORH to the Marlboro/Palmer casino groups but this article in today's paper caught my attention...

Sep 4, 2007

Casinos betting on future

Foxwoods and others expanding and traveling afar

By John Christoffersen THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW HAVEN, Conn.— The nation's largest casinos are hedging their bets.

Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun have grown rapidly over the past decade, enjoying a monopoly in most of New England. But growing competition is prompting the tribes that run the casinos to expand around the country and at home, trying to become national entertainment destinations like Las Vegas, which offer much more than gambling.

"It's just a matter of time before most of the other New England states are going to allow gambling," said the Rev. Richard McGowan, a gambling expert at Boston College. "The days of them having a monopoly are over."

Revenue growth from slot machines has slowed recently because of competition from racetracks that have expanded their slot machines in New York and Rhode Island. Atlantic City is pouring billions into its casinos in a bid to draw top entertainers and restaurants, while Massachusetts is considering casinos.

Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun - which each have more than 300,000 square feet of gaming space - are trying to stay ahead of the competition by spending more than $700 million each to expand in Connecticut by adding hundreds of hotel rooms, convention space, restaurants, stores and night clubs.

While new competitors may lure away some day trippers, the Connecticut casinos hope to draw visitors from around the country and even abroad who stay for longer visits at the hotels, spas, golf courses, concert venues, stores and restaurants.

The Connecticut casinos are drawing on the experience of Las Vegas, where about half the revenue comes from non-gambling activities such as entertainment.

"I think the market is becoming more sophisticated and more demanding," Foxwoods President John O'Brien said. "They want something else other than to come and play a machine."

Foxwoods, run by the Mashantucket Pequots, has teamed up with Las Vegas-based MGM Mirage Inc. to build another hotel and casino that will be called MGM Grand. The expansion, expected to be completed next year, also includes a 4,000-seat performing arts theater, the largest ballroom in the Northeast and new convention space to accommodate thousands.

Foxwoods, which will have access to MGM's database of more than 22 million customers, expects to attract high-profile chefs, Las Vegas-type shows and top entertainers. The project amounts to a distinct third casino in Connecticut, Foxwoods officials say.

Foxwoods, which now draws about 40,000 visitors daily, expects to attract 50,000 as a result of the new casino.

Mohegan Sun is in the midst of a $740 million expansion that will include a 38-story, 1,000-room hotel with a spa that will open in 2010, the return of poker, a new House of Blues music hall and more slot machines, stores and restaurants.

Both tribes also are forming partnerships with other tribes around the country interested in opening casinos.

Foxwoods is working on casino projects in California, Kansas and Philadelphia, St. Croix and the Bahamas.

"We always knew that over time the competitive landscape would do nothing but change," O'Brien said. "The extent of the changes we don't know, but it's important that we as a nation prepare for that."

Mohegan Sun last year opened slot machines at Pocono Downs in Pennsylvania and is working on projects in New York, Massachusetts, Washington and Wisconsin.

"Both tribes have strong brands. What we do in Connecticut is portable," said Jeffrey Hartmann, Mohegan Sun's chief operating officer.

Mohegan Sun has grown about 7 percent annually since it opened more than a decade ago. But after a weaker third quarter, the growth streak may end with the current fiscal year on Sept. 30.

"It's going to be close," Hartmann said.

While growth has slowed for the Connecticut casinos, the industry is still $1.5 billion to $2 billion away from market saturation, said Clyde Barrow, who directs the University of Massachusetts New England Gaming Research Project.

"It's definitely the right strategy," Barrow said.

Harry Tembenis

Anonymous said...

Pilot Payments:

Does anyone here know of anyone or any organization that would pay what amounts to a voluntary tax?

I sure as hell would not.

All these councillors weeping & moaning about the need for Pilot payments...yet none of them are lobbying to change the law that says non profits are exempts from property taxes.

Whats wrong with this picture.

Well the reality is some councillors or maybe many councillors really do not weant to tax non profits, b/c the non profits and /or their key employees donate handsomely to the councillors campaign.

Anonymous said...