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Developer adds to plan at Sun's site in Palmer

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Northeast Realty Associates, owner of the Palmer, Mass., site where Mohegan Sun has proposed developing a $775 million resort casino, announced plans Monday to pursue another $125 million worth of development on land abutting the site.

Northeast, in conjunction with the development group Cardinal's View LLC, would develop land immediately adjacent to the Exit 8 ramp off Interstate 90, the Massachusetts Turnpike.

Calling it the "Gateway to Western Massachusetts," Northeast said the land consists of about 130 acres that it owns or controls. The proposed development includes plans for a hotel, retail space, a lifestyle center and commercial office space, Northeast said.

The site will also have site pads available for development by local entrepreneurs and local or regional brands, Northeast said.

Mohegan Sun's Palmer proposal is one of three competing for the one casino license the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is expected to award for western Massachusetts. The other projects have been proposed for Springfield and West Springfield.

"The development of these parcels right off of Exit 8 is long overdue," Jeffrey Cunningham, manager of Cardinal's View, said. "This exit is the last remaining on the (Massachusetts) Pike that is undeveloped or under-developed. With the prospect of a 152-acre casino development, the economic development footprint will be larger than any of the other proposed casino developments with more nongaming acreage than any of the proposed casino projects in the Commonwealth."

The Northeast-Cardinal's View and Mohegan Sun proposals would bring total investment at the site to more than $900 million, Cunningham said.

"The prospect of developing a much-needed project at the Mass Pike entrance, and next to a world-class destination in the Mohegan Sun Palmer resort, will have an enormous economic impact on Palmer, greater Springfield, and greater Worcester regions," he said.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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