So much for the theory that a casino at Suffolk Downs is a sure thing.
Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn is still pursuing the single casino license for eastern Massachusetts and is now eyeing an old industrial site in Everett, MA.
The plot is a stone's throw from Bunker Hill Community College and three miles from downtown Boston. It is located along Route 99 and was once the site of a Mansanto chemical plant.
Wynn says the desolate site's proximity to Boston makes it an attractive place to build a resort casino - and that once developed, it will become a destination.
"Here we have Everett, virtually an extension of the Greater Boston metropolitan area, a place where a lot of nice things are happening - sports, conventions and all the rest - it seems like a natural place," Wynn told reporters at a Wednesday press conference with Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria.
This isn’t Wynn’s first foray into the Massachusetts casino sweepstakes. He previously pitched a casino in Foxborough, but gave up after voters there made their opposition clear. Wynn declined to compare the two sites, but said he’ll use the same approach for Everett that he did for Foxborough.
"We were going to build, and proposed to build, a building that was appropriate for the Foxborough environment, that was fetching enough in its design and ingredients, the components that were in it, that would make people come from outside the area into the area to visit it on a regular basis hopefully," Wynn said. "That’s exactly what we would do here."
The Suffolk Downs racetrack in nearby East Boston is widely considered the favorite for the one Boston-area casino license, and Boston Mayor Tom Menino has aggressively supported a proposed $1 billion casino complex to be built at the track by Caesars Entertainment. When asked what makes Everett a better site, Wynn smirked and said, “The developer.”
A few minutes later he expanded on that answer, saying, "We’ve built the hotels – Mirage, Treasure island, Wynn Encore, Beau Rivage in Mississipi, Golden Nugget in Atlantic city. In each case, every hotel has led the way and dominated the market in which it’s existed from the day it opened."
Mayor DeMaria said that as he pursues a casino in Everett, he wants to be sure that, “my community is behind this 100 percent.” He says he hopes to present an agreement to residents in the coming months.
Wynn must now submit an application to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission by January 15. Wynn must also win the backing of Everett residents through a local referendum, which is unlikely to take place before the spring.