By Seth Daniel
All of the dreams of a Wynn casino in Everett – as improbable as that would have seemed just three years ago – took a huge step forward last Friday morning when the City issued a building permit to the company and the company, in following its mitigation agreement, delivered a $5 million check to Mayor Carlo DeMaria.
The permit is the biggest piece of the puzzle in starting pre-construction work on the site outside of the Chapter 91 Waterways zone. It also unlocks the first of many mitigation payments to the City of Everett, this first one being for $5 million at the receipt of the first building permit.
“This is the one you need to get started,” said Bob DeSalvio, president of Wynn Boston Harbor.
In a short ceremony that was triggered rather suddenly Friday morning when State Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack gave a final sign-off, Mayor Carlo DeMaria thanked the Wynn Boston Harbor team for persevering through some major obstacles.
“On behalf of the City of Everett, we are very pleased to present Bob DeSalvio, president of Wynn Boston Harbor, with a local building permit for the Wynn resort in Everett,” said DeMaria. “This project has always been about jobs- jobs for Everett residents and jobs for residents of the entire greater Boston region…This project, the most closely scrutinized development project in all of Massachusetts, holds unmatched potential for our region and I am very happy with its forward momentum. It has already yielded tremendous environmental benefits with the cleanup of a highly contaminated hazardous waste site, and it will return Everett to the waterfront for the first time in generations. I look forward to a groundbreaking once all required state-level permits and approvals are in place.”
The Mayor’s Office indicated that the $5 million check had not officially arrived by Tuesday, but was to be in the City’s account within 30 days. Per City ordinance, the money will go into the Host Community Enhancement Fund, which was created in a home rule petition by the City Council last year, and supported at the State House by Rep. Joe McGonagle and Sen. Sal DiDomenico.
The money in that fund can be used for projects on the Five-Year Capital Plan and for dedicated debt service payments. It is to be appropriated by the City Council
DeMaria also thanked Wynn officials for hanging in there and believing in Everett.
“This is a wonderful city,” said DeSalvio. “As the local team, we are so grateful the Vegas team has supported us the way they have, all the way up to Mr. Wynn. We want to do business in this community and that’s why we’re here.”
Building Inspector Jim Sopq said there are likely a total of 30 building permits that will be issued during the course of construction, but the permit issued on Friday was the foundation permit that allows the project to begin in earnest.
DeSalvio said Wynn is still constricted by the Chapter 91 Waterways licensing appeal from Mayor Joe Curtatone. Even though Wynn has its first building permit, it still cannot work within the Chapter 91 Waterways zone.
“We can begin pre-construction work on the site,” he said. “We’ll start with things like utility relocation and the service road preparations and getting the job site prepped up. We are still not yet allowed to work in the Chapter 91 jurisdiction.”
That zone includes all of the waterfront area and up to the hotel site, likely advancing to about the middle of the structure.
A hearing for the Chapter 91 appeal is scheduled for June 2 with the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). If those issues are resolved, the building permit allows Wynn to proceed with digging the foundation for the hotel and resort. That process will involve another environmental cleanup process.
Councilor Michael McLaughlin, who represents the Wynn Boston Harbor area, said he is fully on board and glad to see the permit issued.
“Today marks one of the most important milestones in this three-plus year journey,” he said. “Over three years ago when talks started with Wynn Resorts, most people said it would not become a reality. Mayor DeMaria and Everett United joined together very early on because we all believed this could become the Crown Jewel for our community. Today, I could not be more pleased and excited to see the City of Everett issue the building permit for Wynn Boston Harbor Resort. The next phase is the one we all have been waiting for. It will include the groundbreaking and construction of this amazing $2 billion development.”