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Wynn closes in on lease for Everett casino site

Posted by Marcia Dick  December 12, 2012 12:27 PM

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Casino mogul Steve Wynn is close to securing a 14-month lease on the former Monsanto chemical factory, and plans to submit an application to the state gambling commission to build a $1 billion casino there, Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria Jr. said Tuesday.

"We believe Wynn will put in an application," DeMaria told about 300 residents, who gathered Tuesday night for a community meeting to discuss the proposal. "What we do now is negotiate a host agreement" outlining community benefits.

Nancy Sterling, a consultant for Wynn, confirmed the developer will likely submit an application. "It looks like we're headed that way," said Sterling, a senior vice president in the Boston office of ML Strategies, who attended Tuesday's meeting.

DeMaria said that if Wynn were awarded a license, the developer would then move to purchase the 37-acre site on the Mystic River owned by FBT Realty Inc., a private realty firm.

"I know they have a lease for 14 months, and if successful with the license, will negotiate a purchase and sale agreement," he said.

Wynn, who built such iconic Las Vegas resorts include the Bellagio and Mirage, is one of two developers eyeing a casino license available for Greater Boston. Caesar's Entertainment has partnered with the owners of the Suffolk Down racetrack in East Boston and Revere to put a $1 billion resort there.

Wynn would compete with Suffolk Downs for the sole casino resort license for Greater Boston. The state gambling commission has set a Jan. 15 deadline for developers to pay a $400,000 application fee and submit company financial documents.

DeMaria said Wynn likes Everett's water views of Boston. "They love that it's on the waterfront. They could do a water taxi service to Boston," he said. Wynn visited the site late last month.

The state's gambling law requires that a community hold a local referendum to decide if a casino should be situated in that community. Such a vote would not be scheduled until after an application, DeMaria said.

Some Everett residents who attended Tuesday's meeting were split on whether a casino belongs in their city.

"I see this as real good for the City of Everett to finally gain some income," said William Frederick, one of several who spoke in favor of a casino. "The taxes here just keep going up, up, up."

But Evmorphia Stratis said a casino would bring more urban ills to Everett. "If we want to increase traffic, pollution and crime, this is the way to go," she said. "I am against this."

Wynn is the creator of iconic casinos on the Las Vegas strip. He attempted to partner with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft to build a casino resort in Foxborough, but backed down after local opposition mounted earlier this year.

athy McCabe can be reached at Kmccabe@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKMcCabe.


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