“Wynn Boston Harbor” will be the name of the now-$2 billion project that will eventually culminate in an Everett, Mass., casino. In a media conference last week, hotel and casino magnate Steve Wynn announced that he hoped to have a summer groundbreaking on the casino, and that the plans now include a $27 million statue of cartoon character Popeye for the lobby.
Wynn showed off two new architectural models (which underwent a design overhaul after suggestions from the state gambling commission) in his first press conference in Boston in over a year. Wynn won the greater Boston casino license in 2014 after a lengthy bidding process. At the conference, he also upped the expected price tag from the originally-predicted $1.7 billion.
While the project seems to be taking shape, the process has not been easy.
“Look, the building’s going to get built, give or take a month or two,” Wynn said.
His comment was in response to questions regarding a challenge to his permit brought forth by the city of Somerville, Mass., citing environmental concerns. The challenge was granted by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. Wynn said the challenge contains “nothing substantive” and, if the construction estimates by his contractor John Fish are to be believed, the casino should open its doors in early 2019.
Wynn has struggled long and hard to build the new casino; he has fought seven years of bad relationships with lawmakers in an effort to tap into a casino market that doesn’t yet exist in the state. After Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh was elected, he sued to stop the casino efforts. Wynn struck back with his own lawsuit and come out on top. He claims the two sides have now buried the hatchet.
“We’re happy neighbors now, and Mayor Walsh and I are on the same page,” said Wynn.
Though that relationship may be mending, Wynn is also at odds with Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone, who is responsible for the environmental investigation.
“Wynn is used to getting what he wants in Massachusetts, and Somerville is used to fighting for what is right and we will continue to do so,” Curtatone said in a statement. “In the absence of any apparent interest of Wynn to work with our community, the appeals process is our only option right now to be sure the health and welfare of our community is considered and accounted for in this process.”
Wynn said the company owes no additional money to the city and will not be settling the lawsuit.
“The chances of the mayor of Somerville getting any extra money from us are zero.”
Casino construction is expected to begin in July.
(Photo credit: WynnLasVegas [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)
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