Wynn halts development plans near Encore Boston Harbor amid proposal reevaluation

Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, Masachusetts.
Reading time 2:11 min

Wynn Resorts is rethinking its development plans for the land across the street from its Encore Boston Harbor casino in Everett, Massachusetts. The casino was considering plans to include an entertainment venue, restaurants and parking garage in the land space.

Joe Delaney, the state’s Gaming Commission chief of community affairs, said he was prepared on Wednesday to brief the commission on the plan when he learned from casino officials that they had decided to tap the brakes on the project, reports 7 News Boston.

According to Delaney, Wynn Resorts decided to pause the permitting process for the development so that the company “can do some reevaluation” on whether the project, as proposed, is the best use for the site.

Wynn’s plans for the land across the street from the casino called for the development of a 1,800-seat entertainment venue. Moreover, about 20,00 square feet were to be destined for restaurant space and a garage with about 2,200 spaces.

On Wednesday, the Gaming Commission was going to take up the question of whether the development would be considered part of Encore’s technical “gaming establishment” footprint. This would have made the development subject to the commission’s regulatory oversight, and the provisions of the state’s expanded gaming law.

“Some issues came up with respect to whether it’s part of the gaming establishment or not — that has certain impacts on their development — as well as COVID and other things that they’re considering at this point in time,” Delaney explained, according to the cited news source.

Encore officials have indicated to the Gaming Commission that they will come back to them once the evaluation process is finalized and the company has a “final proposal to move ahead with.” Once the process is finished, Encore will continue with the Everett Planning Board and other involved parties.

“We are pleased with the progress we’re making on designing a development plan that will act as a springboard to create a Lower Broadway Entertainment District,” an Encore spokesperson said, according to the Boston Herald. “We continue to evolve that plan and will present it to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission at the appropriate time.”

Matthew Lattanzi, director of Planning and Development and assistant city solicitor in Everett, said by email to the cited news source that Everett is “excited” to review the transformative redevelopment proposed by the casino’s team. He described the area as “a longtime home to industrial and unsightly uses” that “never had its true potential explored.”

In a statement, Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria confirmed the city has been “actively meeting” with Encore officials to discuss the project. “Our meetings with the Development team over these past few months have helped to shape the project throughout its design… of a Destination District in Everett’s Lower Broadway area,” DeMaria said, according to the Boston Herald.

While the plans are not being withdrawn with the Everett Planning Department, the local public hearing process is essentially being put on hold until a concrete plan is brought forward. Last month, the Boston Globe reported that the proposed development would be the first phase in an effort to transform the area outside of the $2.6 billion casino. Plans were to start construction this year and finish it in 2024.

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