Massachusetts Everett announces hotel, casino deal

Friday April 26, 2013

EVERETT -- Las Vegas casino operator Steve Wynn would make $30 million in advance payments to the city of Everett and more than $25 million in annual payments once a proposed resort casino was open for business, under a host community agreement announced Thursday by Mayor Carlo DeMaria.

The agreement also includes several other commitments from Wynn, including help in mitigating transportation impacts from a casino project, completing the cleanup of environmental contamination at the proposed site and giving preference to Everett residents in the hiring of an estimated 8,000 permanent and temporary construction jobs for the project.

Wynn, whose prominent Las Vegas properties include the Bellagio and The Mirage, has proposed a $1.2 billion casino on a 37-acre site along the Mystic River that was formerly home to a chemical plant. The plan calls for a 19-story hotel and casino, with restaurants and retail stores along a riverwalk on either side of the main building.

The host community agreement must be approved by Everett voters in a referendum scheduled for June 22.

No payments would be made to the city unless the state’s gambling commission picks Wynn over two competing bids for the single resort casino license allowed in eastern Massachusetts under the state’s 2011 casino law. The Suffolk Downs thoroughbred racetrack in East Boston and a group in Milford have also offered proposals for resort casinos.

The $30 million in advance payments would be made by Wynn to a Community Enhancement Fund during the construction period, according to a summary of the agreement.

After the casino opens, Everett would receive $20 million per year in real estate taxes, a $5 million annual community impact fee and a $250,000 annual contribution to a foundation that supports local groups, according to the summary. All of those payments would then increase 2.5 percent each year.

The city committed in the agreement to help the developer overcome regulatory obstacles such as obtaining permits, certifications and zoning changes. Residents who oppose a casino say it would snarl traffic and lead to increased crime in the city of about 41,000 residents just north of Boston.


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