As the ribbon was cut on the $2.6 billion Encore resort casino, plans were already in the works to add more and make the casino less of an island and more of a centerpiece to an entire entertainment district along Lower Broadway.
Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox told reporters on June 21 at the Encore media day that they don’t intend to stop at the boundaries of the casino site, and they believe others will follow them.
Maddox said they own 11 acres of property across from Encore that amounts to 82 parcels they’ve purchases over the last four years. That property is now a temporary parking lot, but there are much bigger plans in store.
“We want to work with the City to create an entertainment district,” said Maddox. “It’s not all going to be our company, but we want to work side by side with local developers. Our idea is to continue to re-design this area so it’s known as ‘the’ entertainment district in the northeast. You build this anchor and others look and say, ‘Look at the opportunity.’ We’ve acquired a lot of land here – others have too. We’re really excited for the next decade in Everett.”
It’s a plan that was first advanced by Mayor Carlo DeMaria and the community of Lower Broadway years ago in the Lower Broadway Master Plan. That plan called for an entire district up and down Lower Broadway that now looks more like a reality than a plan.
“This district wasn’t created by the Encore team; it was created by the City of Everett,” said the mayor. “We looked at this whole area. You see the buildings coming down across the street – the used car lots and the scrap yards. We were defined for many years as that gritty industrial city that had tough guys that play football. We still have tough guys that play football, but we’re not longer a gritty city. We’re a city on the move and get a little hotel business and make this a vibrant district.”
Maddox was, in fact, the first person from Wynn Resorts to visit Everett and the old Monsanto site. He said after an initial meeting at the site, he brought members of the team and they found the mayor’s vision for the district very appealing.
“He had a vision for Urban Renewal and an entertainment district,” said Maddox. “It was exciting to sit in City Hall (in 2012) in Everett and hear that plan and everything they did to create it and he really believed it could happen. At that point, our company believed we had found the partner we needed to bring to Massachusetts and integrated resort.”
Maddox told reporters on Friday he was confident about the location and the plan to move forward across the street on what was previously described as a hotel/entertainment resort with about 800 rooms.
“You learn as you go,” he said. “We feel very confident about the location and the relationship with the City and what this property will be and what it’s able to generate in the northeast. What you find out is what you’re missing. You don’t know what you’re missing right away. We’ll think about developers to partner with, who we can partner with in the city. We’ll look at hotels, apartments, and what it is that needs to go here. We’ll really take our time to work with the right people and the City to come up with a comprehensive master plan to create one of the best entertainment districts in the northeast.”