Robert DeSalvio, president of Wynn Boston Harbor and Matt Maddox, CEO of president of Wynn Resorts, each hailed Carlo DeMaria’s vision for Everett during the pre-grand opening press conference Friday at the $2.6 billion resort/casino.
“Mr. Mayor, I want to say, thank you so much,” said DeSalvio in front of a gathering of local and national media. “We know that the team here could not have done this without you.”
Maddox also offered praise to DeMaria in his remarks.
“This would have never occurred had it not been for the vision of Mayor Carlo DeMaria and the city of Everett,” said Maddox. “When I actually came to Everett about seven years ago in the November of 2012 and saw this site for the first time and met with the mayor, he laid out a vision for urban renewal and for an entertainment district right here where we standing.”
Maddox said it was “really extraordinary to sit in City Hall in Everett and hear the passion and everything he [DeMaria] had dedicated to this and how he believed he could make this happen.”
“And it was at that moment that our company thought, ‘this could be the perfect partner to bring to the state of Massachusetts a five-star, integrated resort,” reflected Maddox.
Maddox then called upon the mayor to expound on the vision he had for the site where the incomparable Encore resort/casino now stands in the city.
“I used to bike to Northeastern as a kid and always drive by the Monsanto chemical plant,” recalled DeMaria. “It was empty. It was barren.”
“Fast forward, I become mayor and try to get some economic development going in my community,” said DeMaria. “I went to the secretary of economic development and said, ‘I really want to do something great for my city.’ I want to get access to the waterfront.”
DeMaria said the secretary suggested that he put together a master urban renewal plan. The mayor initiated a master plan and held meetings with residents, who wanted to see a hotel, a marina, and active use of the waterfront.
“That report was released and I got a call from the Wynn team and the rest is history,” said DeMaria. “There were some other people who wanted this site, but I said I wasn’t interested. When I heard the name Wynn and the organization, I said, ‘this is the company that I would love to do business with.”
DeMaria said the early discussions with the Wynn organization were the source of much optimism.
“From Day 1, the conversations with Mr. Maddox and Mr. Wynn at the time, and the team, they were always positive,” said the mayor. “They bought in to my vision that we forecast, that this is a great area of opportunity for our residents. They said, ‘Mayor, we want to be a partner, we want a true partnership.’
“And that’s what it is, it’s actually a true partnership – and it’s been wonderful,” added DeMaria.
DeMaria said the prospects for the area and the city continue to grow.
“We’re looking at things like gold-standard BRT (bus rapid transit) in the city of Everett, a $25-30 million pedestrian footbridge, and connecting our bike paths from Gloucester and Nahant all the way in to Everett – and that’s going to be a realization,” said DeMaria.
He applauded Wynn for building a beautiful park on the Malden River. “It is a wonderful facility for the city of Everett. My residents couldn’t be happier.”
And just as the mayor anticipated and Encore Boston Harbor followed through on its pledge, there are many jobs for residents of this city and adjacent communities.
“Six hundred or seven hundred Everett residents are working here and I get a chance when I come here, to see them – and they’re beaming. They’re so happy. They have a great job for a great company. That’s amazing. To get a five-star resort – but not only that, a company that really treats their employees with love and care. You don’t really find that in many industries, but you find it with this organization.”
The mayor’s remarks were impressive and well received. But the city’s chief executive was just warming up. His speech at Sunday morning’s grand opening ceremony, in which he vividly showed the emotion of what the historic day meant to him, his wife, Stacey, his city and Everett residents current and past – was even more extraordinary.