Wynn’s new casino in Everett, MA

Wynn’s new casino in Everett, MA

Steve’s breakdown: The new casino is only in the planning stage but unlike most products, real estate needs advertising even when the product doesn’t exist yet so make the call.

EVERETT, MA: Wynn Resorts today unveiled stunning plans for a more than $1 billion casino it hopes to build on the shores of the Mystic River in Everett, upping the ante in the intensifying battle for the sole Boston gaming license.

Flashy Las Vegas billionaire Steve Wynn did not attend the event, but Wynn Resorts president and COO Gamal Aziz unveiled a single artist’s rendering of the $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion casino plan to the strains of Frank Sinatra’s “Luck be a Lady” that showed a glass and stone 19-story tower flanked by an arcade of low-lying buildings with glazed skylights surrounded by gardens and walking paths down to the river’s edge.

Guest rooms in the 2.7 million-square-foot casino would range from 700 to 2,800 square feet, Aziz said, and the casino would be built in one phase to minimize disruption.

The developers will seek out local boutiques and restaurants to fill the arcade, rather than more traditional high-end retailers such as Gucci. And a winter garden that stretches to the water’s edge would be filled with “museum quality botanical displays,” he said.

A riverwalk would offer biking and picnic areas for families, as well as paddleboat rentals, Aziz said, and the developers also hope to create a water taxi network to make access to the site easier.

“This development would really give us the opportunity to give the riverwalk back to the people of Everett,” Aziz said. “This is something we have not seen here in Everett since the ‘80s and quite honestly if we are not selected by the Gaming Commission it may be a very long time before anyone takes interest in this site because, as you know, the site is highly contaminated and requires extraordinary investment.”

Wynn is battling Suffolk Downs in East Boston, which is partnered with Vegas giant Caesar’s, and Crossroads Resort in Milford, which is working with Warner Gaming, for the sole casino license for the Boston region. The flamboyant gaming mogul owns some of the world’s largest and most lucrative casinos and has pledged to build a world-class resort on the 40-acre Everett site, which formerly housed a contaminated chemical plant.

Critics have said the site cleanup will be too costly and time-consuming and have also raised concerns about access to the property, which is located off Route 99. But Wynn has dismissed those concerns and vowed to build a world-class resort.

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who supports Suffolk Downs, has hinted that he could throw up a roadblock to the Everett project, noting that the road into the site is owned by the city of Boston. Boston would likely be considered a “neighboring community” to the Everett site, which would require Wynn to strike a deal with the city before a casino license could be approved. There have been no formal talks between Everett and Boston, officials said.

The state gaming board is currently sifting through thousands of pages of financial and personal documents, while cops and forensic investigators are poring over the backgrounds of hundreds of people tied to the state’s 11 gambling proposals. In addition to the Boston license, one casino license will be issued for western Massachusetts, while there will be one slots parlor licensed.

In Southeastern Massachusetts, the Mashpee Wampanoags have an exclusive right to develop a casino in Taunton, but their window of opportunity is closing as the state gaming commission is considering opening the region up to commercial bidders due to repeated delays. The tribe has struck a new deal with Gov. Deval Patrick that needs to be approved by the state Legislature, as well as the federal government.

The slots license is slated to be issued this fall while the first casino licenses will be doled out early next year.


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