Holyoke, MA Developer Reacts to Mayor Morse’s Casino Reversal

Holyoke, Massachusetts Mayor Alex Morse’s reversal on casino developments last week put an end to a brief revival of two casino proposals in the city. But one company is moving quickly to develop a new proposal before the state deadline on January 15th.

Two proposals had been in place after Mayor Morse’s first announcement late last month that he would consider casino developments. One from local concert promoter Eric Suher would have put a casino at Mountain Park, while another proposed by Paper City Development, LLC would have built a casino at the Wyckoff Country Club. 

Tony Cignoli, a partner in Paper City Development, says his company had no indication Morse would change his position. He says on Thursday, less than an hour before Morse announced he would no longer consider casinos, Paper City was exchanging legal documents with Holyoke’s economic development office. 

“Not five days before, we had had a two-hour plus meeting with economic development officials in the city of  Holyoke, people from the mayor and city solicitor’s office, and it was all flying forward.”

Cignoli says Paper City invested $1.8-million in the Wyckoff Country Club site over the past year. He says Paper City is now in talks with other major casino companies, and other mayors in the region, to develop a new casino proposal before the state’s deadline.

“Right now we’ve got non-disclosure agreements with nine different companies. Frankly, we had been looking with those nine at Holyoke, but we have been able to talk to several of them about other sites as fallback sites to immediately move from Holyoke to other venues.”

Cignoli declined to say what casino companies Paper City is working with or where a casino might be proposed. He says he’s confident a fleshed-out proposal can be submitted to meet the state’s January 15th deadline.

Calls to developer Eric Suher were not immediately returned.