The City of Boston last week raised the possibility that it could be considered a host community, along with the City of Everett, on the $1.2 billion Wynn Casino Resort being proposed for the former Monsanto property on Everett’s waterfront.
As was reported in the Boston Globe last week city officials, in letters to state agencies, have noted that the city of Boston boundary line darts across the Mystic River to the edge of the Monsanto property. If any of the proposed development is built on or impacts the City of Boston property, Boston could be identified by the State’s Gaming Commission as a host community. That designation would give Boston the ability to kill the project by simply refusing to negotiate with the developer.
If Boston is instead identified as a surrounding community, its influence on the project would be much less. Surrounding communities cannot kill a project by refusing to negotiate with the developer.
Boston is already locked in negotiations with the owners and developers of a competing resort casino proposal at Suffolk Downs, and has been on the record as favoring that project.
The Suffolk Downs and Wynn projects are two of the three resort casino proposals vying for the one resort casino gaming license that will be issued by the state for the Greater Boston area. The third project is being developed by the owners of Foxwoods Resort Casino in Milford.
Wynn Resorts Chairman Steve Wynn went on record responding to the City of Boston’s claims in a prepared statement in which he denied that his proposal is in Boston.
“We understand that the mayor (Menino) favors another horse in this race, but we intend to remain focused on our project in Everett,” said Wynn. “The governing legislation’s definition of a host community is straightforward. By any reading, the host community for our project is the city of Everett.”
Wynn’s plans call for no buildings touching the city line, and Wynn himself has said that he has no plans to develop in Boston. However, the city may question whether any improvements to the site that cross the city line, including the addition or improvement of roads or the development of harbor access for the site, could elevate the city of Boston to Host Community status.
Any disputes about a municipality’s host community status will likely be decided by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, under the terms of the 2011 Casino Legislation.