It appears the bitter legal battle between the city of Boston and Wynn Resorts Ltd. has ended as the city’s Mayor Marty Walsh and Steve Wynn have settled on a deal that could net Boston $368 million over a 15-year period clearing the way for the $1.7 billion Wynn Everett casino to be built.
The agreement adds hundreds of thousands of dollars to the deal for the city and especially Charlestown compared to what is required by the state Gaming Commission. Construction of the mega-complex could also be expedited, with a possible groundbreaking this summer and opening sometime in 2018, according to the Boston Herald. Last night Walsh told the Herald, “This casino wasn’t going to be stopped by a lawsuit. We were fighting for the rights for people in Charlestown,” adding, “My only regret is I wish I was in this conversation from the beginning. I came into this halfway through the game.” The city’s mayor wasn’t in office for a year when Suffolk Downs’s bid was lost to host the Boston-area casino. The deal takes away Walsh’s leverage over the casino debate, and all but ends any hope of a second chance for the track.
A statement last night from Wynn Resorts said, “Subject to approval by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, our agreement with Boston will unlock economic development and jobs for the entire region.” According to Walsh and a copy of the deal obtained by the Herald, the deal includes: payments to the city of $25 million over 10 years to fix Sullivan Square traffic in Charlestown. The payments will also help the city find federal and state matching grants for the project;
- A “good-faith-effort” on the casino’s part to purchase $20 million in services and goods from Boston businesses every year.
- Short-term transportation fixes in the amount of $11 million.
- Every year over a 15 year period $2 million will be targeted for the neighborhood of Charleston, which increases the previous offer by $400,000 annually.
- A one-time payment of $1 million held in escrow by the gaming commission to be given the city.
- To be used to pay off legal fees accumulated by Boston in the fight with Wynn, nearly $1 million from Wynn in addition to another $1 million one-time payment.
- $250,000 earmarked for a regional working group.
In a meeting last night between the mayor and the Herald, Walsh said the deal includes Orange Line improvement and revisiting any future traffic needs, as well as looking to “repurpose” waterfront parcels that are close to the Wynn project. Now that the feud has come to an end, Wynn can focus on final approvals for the Mystic River waterfront gambling mecca that is set to include a curved glass tower with 24 floors. Four-thousand construction jobs and as many permanent jobs, in addition to $200 million in yearly taxes are expected to be created by the project.