By Seth Daniel
Steve Wynn visited Boston on Wednesday, Nov. 1, to speak to the Boston Chamber of Commerce, and in a 25-minute speech, announced that they will purchase $90 million in non-casino real estate in Everett, and that the Sinatra Restaurant will officially be in Everett – with Sinatra’s Grammy, Academy Award and Emmy on display inside.
Wynn’s visit was one that focused on the region and the Greater Boston area, but one in where he made a few interesting announcements about Everett.
First and foremost was in revealing that Wynn Boston Harbor has already spent $75 million on real estate off-site from the casino, and that they would spend $90 million when all is done.
That $75 million includes several purchases recently reported in the Independent, as well those reported last year and the purchase of the GE Site at 7-Acre Park.
Wynn said they are making those investments in order to transform a neighborhood of Everett.
“…We want to make it spring in Everett every day,” he said. “We’ve spent over $75 million as of today…and on our way to $90 (million) buying real estate that has nothing to do with the casino development that John Fish (of Suffolk Construction) is building. It’s property we’re buying so we can turn Everett into a great example in America of how a business can change a neighborhood. Our hopes and our plans are to make Everett and entertainment and convention destination that completes and compliments the one that already exists here in Boston. There won’t be any more slot machines. There are enough of those in the first building. The gaming part to us the casino is a room in a hotel that provides revenue to allow us to do it in a much more dynamic and fanciful way – a way that would otherwise not be financial feasible if we had to rely only on food, beverage and hospitality.
“In hospitality, you have to reinvent yourself all the time or you stagnate,” he continued. “That’s the business we’re in. The reason we’re buying all this property in Everett is to continue the development of this City as a destination.”
Many rumors spread after that announcement that perhaps some of that money would be reserved for the MBTA Shops building next door to the resort.
MBTA Spokesman Joe Pesaturo said that wasn’t the case, and the Shops is not under consideration for sale right now.
In addition, he unveiled officially that Sinatra Restaurant – a Northern Italian concept – will be coming to Wynn Boston Harbor.
“This one is going to be great,” he said. “A terrific chef is coming here for it. We’re going to put on display, because Tina and Nancy (Sinatra) gave it to me, the Emmy for ‘A Man and His Music,’ the Grammy for ‘Come Fly with Me’ and the Academy Award Sinatra got for ‘From Here to Eternity.’…It’s the kind of restaurant when we were designing we thought it was something Frank would like…The Emmy and the Oscar will be in (Everett) when we open in May or June of 2019 and it will be part of the fun.”
Finally, Wynn let those in Boston know the inspiration of his design for Wynn Boston Harbor – particularly the much-heralded two-story glass lobby with flowers, waterfront views of the Mystic River and a sculpture of Popeye the Sailor Man.
That inspiration wasn’t a concoction of the latest trends in design or development, but rather lessons he learned decades ago at the University of Pennsylvania in Anthropology class – those lessons being about the primordial building blocks of life, sun, water and plants.
“Those are the primordial forces of life,” he shared. “So I said to my colleagues, if we’re going to get people out to the desert or to Boston, and deal with all aspects of travel, we’re going to have to resonate with human aspiration, which is fancy language…That’s big talk, but the fact of the matter is if you stay close to the primordial sources of life – water, sun, plants – you resonate with people in a way all of us don’t necessarily articulate consciously, but in a way that moves us. We all love sunshine and looking at the water. That’s because we all know inside it’s the source of our existence. That’s why the lobby looks at water, has sunlight coming through the ceiling and shining on sculptures made of flowers that move.”
He finished by saying they didn’t design it with a rush to grab cash in the casino, but with the idea of making something unbelievable.
“The process of creating Wynn Boston Harbor was slow, painstaking, inch by inch…,” he said. “The people who love to do this thing love the process. The question wasn’t how fast can we get the cash flow, but rather how good can we make it. As John Kennedy would say, ‘There’s no half-measure.’”