The partnership proposing a Foxwoods casino in Southeastern Massachusetts has secured an option to buy 30 acres of land in Fall River for the resort, according to David Nunes, a member of the partnership.

With the land under agreement, the project can move forward into formal negotiations on a casino host agreement with Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan. A binding citywide public referendum on the plans would follow. Nunes said he could not yet identify the site and owner of the property, though he said the land is currently in use as a commercial development.

The Foxwoods partnership in January confirmed its interest in Fall River, after the partners lost a referendum vote on a casino proposal in Milford.

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Early plans for the development call for a gambling resort with about 20 restaurants, a hotel, convention and entertainment space, shops, a spa, and a gambling floor.

Foxwoods chief executive Scott Butera said today that he loves the site, and is excited to move forward with the proposal.

Casino development in Southeastern Massachusetts is on a later timetable than the Western and Greater Boston regions, due to language in the 2011 state casino law that delayed bidding in the southeast to allow a federally recognized tribe, expected to be the Mashpee Wampanoag, time to make progress on a casino.

The Mashpee want to build a casino in Taunton, but the tribe faces legal hurdles that may take a court action or an act of Congress to resolve.

At least one other company is eyeing the area. KG Urban wants to build a casino in New Bedford.