VIDEO: MGM Lays Out Casino Resort Plans
An exclusive deal with Cirque du Soleil and a restaurant developed by celebrity chef Mark McEwen.
Those are some of the things the chair and CEO of MGM promised to have at a casino resort in Toronto, if the city lets him build it.
While Jim Murren says his vision isn't site-specific, he has his eye on Exhibition Place, underlining MGM would help revitalize the troubled Ontario Place.
Murren says a resort that has a casino, entertainment venue, restaurants, convention space and more would likely bring one million people a year from outside the province to the city. He says that means $1 billion in non-gaming based revenue a year, pointing to spill off for local businesses.
Parking spaces, transit access and traffic flow to the area would have to improved for MGM to comfortably fit in. But Murren says Exhibition Place is ideal because of its proximity to the entertainment and arts district and there is reasonable access to an airport, two things he says are important for a resort.
As for things like the annual Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) and Indy, Murren says he believes those things would still be able to go on.
However, CNE president Brian Ashton says he believes if a casino resort moves into the area, the Ex as you know it would be no more. He speculates the summer event would only consist of a hot dog cart and merry-go-round because of lack of space.
Ashton pointedly reveals plunking a resort in at Exhibition place would be hard and may result into knocking down heritage buildings or even BMO Field, home of the TFC soccer team.
He says it would be very difficult to accommodate a resort and all the events that take place on the Ex grounds.
Both parking space and traffic in the area will be an issue according to Ashton, who says he doesn't believe any infrastructure problems would be resolved by the time a resort goes up.
If Toronto shuts down the idea of a casino, Murren seems confident MGM will be able to set up shop somewhere else in Ontario. He wouldn't reveal any other sites the resort company is looking at.