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MGM Picks Contractor for $1 Billion Resort, Casino at National Harbor

The $1 billion MGM casino and resort complex planned for National Harbor will bring jobs to local residents and money for non-profits under an agreement with Prince George's County.

Screen shot from MGM National Harbor video.
Screen shot from MGM National Harbor video.

The estimated $1 billion contract to build the MGM casino and resort at National Harbor was awarded Tuesday to Baltimore-based Whiting-Turner Contracting Co.

Construction is expected to begin within six weeks on the 1 million-square-foot venue featuring 3,600 slot machines and 160 table games, a 3,000-seat theater, 55,000 square feet of retail space and more. MGM Resorts International, the operator of the Prince George’s County complex, says the facility should open in summer 2016.

Whiting-Turner will supervise construction of MGM National Harbor, which will entail dozens of subcontractors and an estimated 2,000 construction workers.

Last week, MGM Resorts International pledged to hire county residents to build and run the facility, and donate $400,000 a year to nonprofits in Prince George’s County.

“We are honored and delighted to have been selected by MGM for this prestigious, landmark project,” Timothy Regan, Whiting-Turner president, told the Washington Business Journal.

“This is a Maryland-based company with an admirable record and reputation in Prince George’s County,” MGM National Harbor President Lorenzo Creighton said in a statement. “Whiting-Turner has stayed true to its roots and we feel will be the perfect partner to bring to life our vision for MGM National Harbor.”

Five other companies — Clark Construction, Hensel Phelps Construction, Holder Construction Group, Manhattan Construction Group, and TN Ward Co. – were finalists in the bid for lead contractor, the business publication says.

Details of the pledge were outlined in a community benefits agreement announced June 17 by County Executive Rushern L. Baker III. 

The agreement, signed by Baker and Creighton, was not a statutory requirement, since no government money is involved in the project, reports the Washington Business Journal. The financial contributions outlined in the agreement are beyond the estimated $9 million annually that the county should earn from the casino under the state's gaming.

“After months of negotiating, I am proud to say that we have reached a deal with MGM that ensures this facility will have a transformative impact on our residents, businesses and communities,” said Baker. “The goals for local hiring and contracting in this agreement are both ambitious and fair.”

MGM expects to hire more than 4,000 people to work in the casino, as well as the 300-room hotel, conference and assembly rooms, a 3,000-seat theater and numerous restaurants, the business publications says.

As Patch earlier reported, the agreement sets a target of 40 percent of employees being county residents and veterans in years one and two, working up to 50 percent in the fifth year of operation as well as an aspirational goal of hiring county residents for half of all jobs at the facility by day one. The agreement also has a goal of hiring county residents for 20 percent of all construction jobs.

While the facility is in operation, MGM has committed to a best efforts goal of 20 percent of contracts being awarded to county-based minority businesses, according to the county.

In addition to local hiring and contracting goals, the agreement sets up sustained philanthropic commitments. Before the opening of the facility, MGM has agreed to donate $1 million to local organizations that provide workforce training and to non-profits that benefit the county. After the opening, MGM will donate $400,000 each year. 

To read the full Community Benefits Agreement, follow this link.

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