Mohegan Sun has raised the stakes in its bid to build a resort casino in Palmer, Mass., pushing the projected cost to nearly $1 billion by adding a family-oriented water park and a second hotel.
The adventure-themed park and resort hotel would include an indoor and outdoor water park that is connected to a 250-room hotel by an entrance that is separate from the main hotel lobby, Mohegan said today.
The outdoor section of the water park will wind through the “hills and valleys of the natural wooded terrain off Route 32″ and offer kayaking and zip lining.
The addition of the 70,000-square-foot water park and hotel will push the cost of the proposal well above the previous $775 million.
Mohegan has partnered with Boston-based Finard Properties in its bid to obtain a casino license for western Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is expected to issue one license for the region, and there are competing proposals for Springfield and West Springfield.
See renderings here of all the proposed casinos for western Massachusetts.
Mitchell Etess, chief executive of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, said the additions will help attract a broader mix of visitors from New England and the Northeast — and boost the economic benefits to the region.
“Part of the thinking was the create that real resort spirit,” Etess said told me this afternoon. “It allows us to create that amenity for family visits.”
Etess said he hopes the water park will also appeal to the younger adult population between the ages of 21 and 29.
The water park and resort hotel will be developed by Finard, which is already heading up planning for the retail component of the proposal. The 300,000 square feet will include restaurants, a movie theater and other entertainment and shopping.
The retail space is twice the size of the 130,000-square-foot Shops at Mohegan Sun at Mohegan’s Connecticut venue.