Towering crane arrives in Springfield for casino project

  • MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis speaks to the media Tuesday during a press conference to announce the arrival of a 205-foot tower crane for the construction of the complex at State and Main Streets. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • The tower of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame can be seen in the background as International Union of Operating Engineers workers assemble a 205-foot tower crane for the MGM Springfield casino near the corner of State and Main Streets on Tuesday. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Workers constructing a parking garage for MGM Springfield can be seen in the background through a counter jib, one piece of a 205-foot tower crane that was being assembled Tuesday on the site of the casino building at State and Main Streets. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • International Union of Operating Engineers workers assemble a tower crane for the MGM Springfield casino near the corner of State and Main Streets on Tuesday. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • An overall plan of the ground level of the MGM Springfield site was on display during the press conference Tuesday morning to herald the arrival of a 205-foot tower crane. East is at the top of the plan. The $950 million casino, hotel and entertainment complex, bordered by East Columbus Avenue and State, Main and Union Streets, is set to open in September of 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Randy Pitts, in hard hat at left, of Tishman Construction, MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis and Executive Director of Design Construction Jason Rosewell hold a press conference just off State Street in Springfield where a 205-foot tower crane was being assembled Tuesday for the construction of the MGM Springfield casino. The $950 million casino, hotel and entertainment complex, bordered by East Columbus Avenue and State, Main and Union Streets, is set to open in September of 2018. In background, right, is the horizontal counter jib for the crane. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • The tower of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame can be seen in the background as International Union of Operating Engineers workers assemble the crane. GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • A view looking north from Maple Street in Springfield of the 205-foot tower crane (center, in yellow) being assembled Tuesday for the construction of the MGM Springfield casino at State and Main Streets. The mobile crane at left is working on the site of the casino's parking garage. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • A view looking north from Maple Street in Springfield of the 205-foot tower crane (yellow structure) being assembled Tuesday for the construction of the MGM Springfield casino at State and Main streets. The $950 million casino, hotel and entertainment complex is set to open in two years. GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

@DHGCrosby
Published: 9/27/2016 9:55:53 PM

SPRINGFIELD — A towering 205-foot construction crane will remain permanently affixed to the city’s skyline for nearly a year, marking a milestone for MGM’s downtown casino project.

“It means Springfield is open for business,” said MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis, during a press conference Tuesday at the site.

The last time a crane of this size met downtown Springfield was in 1986, for the construction of Monarch Place, MGM reports. Mathis said he feels an incredible sense of pride to be part of the large-scale construction project.

The $950 million casino, hotel and entertainment complex is set to open in September of 2018.

Jason Rosewell, MGM’s executive director of design and construction, said the gantry crane has a horizontal jib, or projecting arm, reaching to 264 feet. The crane can lift 45,000 pounds extended at 110 feet and 11,900 lbs fully extended, according to Randy Pitts, vice president of field operations for Tishman Construction.

The crane will be used to set steel, heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment and some concrete work, as well as to move interior finishes into spaces.

The project is edging toward completion of the foundation phase and moving toward the superstructure phase, in which steel will be erected, according to MGM Springfield.

“That’s the actual backbone of the building,” said Pitts of the next phase, in which the crane will play a major role.

First the parking garage will go up, followed by the casino podium and the hotel, Mathis confirmed. 

Steel work for the central utility plant will begin Monday.

The colder weather will not deter the steel work, Rosewell said.

“Our window of risk goes further down with each week that passes by,” Mathis said, referring to the approaching winter season.

Mathis said he is proud of the team effort that has employed close to 1,000 construction workers so far. An estimated 2,000 construction workers will work on the project through its completion.

“We’ve got a really motivated workforce that has been hungry for a project of this nature,” said Mathis of the crew, noting that the crane serves as a symbolic representation of MGM’s commitment to the downtown and economic development.

Workers on the project have sometimes pressed on six days a week, at times putting in 10- to 12-hour days, said Pitts.

“In our team, our motto is ‘make hay while the sun is shining,’” Pitts said. “Like a farmer,” he explained. “If the day is nice and you’ve got the weather with you, you just keep pushing.”

Mathis said by next winter, the structure will be fully enclosed for interior work.

Sarah Crosby can be reached at scrosby@gazettenet.com.


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