Mayor Carlo DeMaria shared his first real thoughts about the misconduct controversy surrounding the Wynn Resorts company, and former CEO Steve Wynn, during a meeting of the Council Ways and Means Committee Monday night.
While the mayor said he is confident the project will be completed, he said some of the recent events have the potential to keep him up worrying at night.
Asked by Councilor Stephen Simonelli what the City would do if the Wynn project doesn’t pan out, Mayor DeMaria – in his first unscripted public comments on the matter – said the situation does keep him up at night, but he is certain the project will get built.
“I do have those fears,” he said. “There’s a lot going on if everyone keeps up with the articles in the Wall Street Journal like I know we all do. There’s a lot going on…and the Gaming Commission has the authority to pull the license…I just don’t foresee it sitting idle and everything down there coming to a halt…I’m hoping June 2019 it will open and the name might be different – I think you’ll see some movement on that soon – but hopefully it will be in the same corporation. The thing we need to remember in all seriousness is this finally will be built and will be open. It’s in the best interest of the state.”
DeMaria said all indications in Boston are that things are going well, and there are now more than 1,000 construction workers on site, and there is no indication the project is slowing down.
That, he said, is a good sign, and one that reinforces the City, state and Wynn’s commitment to seeing through the project.
“The state and everyone else, including us, wants to see it open,” he said. “No one can afford for this not to open. It would be devastating to this City, and to all of the ancillary things associated with the project. I hope it stays with the same corporation…However, here in Boston, it’s full steam ahead. They’re committed to the project and still buying property. They’re committed to creating more hotel space and committed to other locations too.”
Council President Peter Napolitano agreed with the mayor, saying the state would not pull the plug on the project at this late date.
“I think the state understands that if they do not allow it to open, it would devastate this city completely,” he said. “We are too far into it.”
DeMaria said what keeps him up at night is not just the uncertainty with the casino project and the $30 million annual host fee, but also the surrounding area on Lower Broadway that will become more of an entertainment and hospitality district.
“It’s not just the $30 million, but my goal is to see some kind of district down there that generates north of $50 million or $60 million per year,” he said.
He explained that he hasn’t made many public comments yet, but he said the time will come when he will speak at the Gaming Commission and explain the stakes.
“Eventually there will be a time when the MGC does take this up and we will speak on it then,” he said.