After three years of waiting, the Wynn casino project has one final obstacle left before construction can begin on the site. The project, which saw tremendous support from the residents of the city, was awarded the contract by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in September 2014.
On Monday, Everett city officials issued a building permit for the casino operator to begin work on their $2 billion casino development on the Mystic River.
Everett City Mayor, Carlo DeMaria, said, “The people of Everett have eagerly awaited this day for years. This is a major milestone for Wynn and another positive step forward for Everett and beyond.”
In 2014, The Massachusetts Gaming Commission picked Wynn over Mohegan Sun, by a vote of 3-1, for this casino project and there was never much doubt that the city would also give them the greenlight to proceed with a building permit. Wynn’s victory over the rival companies were heavily influenced by their promises of bringing better paid jobs to Everett and of cleaning up the heavily contaminated, 33 acre, former industrial brownfield. They are now poised to begin construction of a 24 story curved, glass hotel and vast casino, provided they clear one last regulatory hurdle, Somerville Mayor, Joseph Curtatone’s environmental appeal, which was filed on the grounds of poor environmental impact, against the pending project.
Early this year, the casino operator was forced to bring all work at the site, including the removal of contaminants, such as lead and arsenic, to a halt, when Curtatone filed the appeal challenging the environmental permit that the Department of Environmental Protection had issued to Wynn Everett project.
The Somerville mayor raised questions about the sustainability of the project and argued that the increase in human and vehicular traffic, the casino will generate heading towards Everett, would definitely increase air pollution and have other negative impacts on his city. The casino operator is already liable for a payment of $36 million to contribute toward the improvement of traffic on Charlestown’s Sullivan Square and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has also ordered Wynn Resorts to pay extra to alleviate the traffic concerns in areas surrounding the casino but Curtatone says that Wynn Resorts “must do more to offset the casino’s environmental impact.” A hearing for the appeal is scheduled for June 2, 2016; a month before Wynn plans to break ground on the project.
The issuance of the building permit triggered a $5 million payment from Wynn Resorts to the Everett city government; this is the first instalment of the $30 million Wynn has promised to pay the city before the casino opens to the public, which is now scheduled for late 2018.
Officials say the casino will be the largest private single-phase development the state has ever seen.
Robert DeSalvio, the President of Wynn Everett, said in a statement, “This is just the beginning of an economic rocket that will yield benefits to the city, and the region, for generations to come.”
In other News
In other news, over in Macau, Asian subsidiary, Wynn Macau Ltd. is still optimistic about an opening the Cotai Palace Resort to the public in the third quarter of 2016. The original March 25, 2016 opening date was postponed when, late last year, Wynn Resorts was informed that CIMIC Group Limited, which was formerly known as Leighton Holdings Limited, would not be able to complete the casino resort in time and asked for an extension as well as for a reversal of liquidated damages and additional compensation.
In a filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the company said that their “general contractor is obligated to substantially complete the project in the first half of 2016 for a guaranteed maximum price of US$ 2.7 billion, which is the equivalent of HK$ 20.6 billion.”
The operator also added, “The performance of the general contractor is backed by a full completion guarantee given by CIMIC Group Limited, the parent company of the general contractor, as well as a performance bond for 5% of the guaranteed maximum price.”
Plans for the $4.1 billion Cotai Palace resort include 1,700 hotel rooms, a casino, a lake with gondolas and fountains, meeting space, a spa, retail outlets and food and beverage