Somerville Drops Its Environmental Appeal against Wynn Boston Harbor

Steve Wynn Unveils Boston Harbor Casino

Steve Wynn’s grand plans for Wynn Boston Harbor concerned Somerville’s Mayor Joe Curtatone.

Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone has decided he will not appeal a ruling made last month by the Department of Environmental Protection. The ruling pertained to the environmental impact of the $2.1 billion Wynn Boston Harbor resort and casino, which is being developed in nearby Everett, Massachusetts.

Curtatone’s decision to end his legal challenge to the current plan for the construction of Wynn Boston Harbor means the last major obstacle to construction has been removed. Somerville launched a challenge in February 2016, which forced Steve Wynn to announce a postponement of construction of the Wynn Boston Harbor. The original plan was to break ground in June 2016.

Traffic and Pollution Concerns

Mayor Curtatone’s challenge of the current plan focused on the potential increase traffic in the area. The spike in traffic would lead to longer and more expensive commutes, more wear and tear on the streets, and more air pollution. Curtatone’s challenge was based on the potential for pollution of the nearby Mystic River, too.

For its part, Wynn Resorts has pledged to help offset traffic and environmental impacts. Joe Curtatone accepted those pledges. Thus, the licensing for the casino by the Environmental Protection Department of Massachusetts is official. Officials from the city of Somerville applauded some of the changes the environmental agency made, include the ferry service to the waterfront site.

Curtatone Claimed Success

In announcing his city’s support for the plan, Mayor Curtatone spun the reversal the best that he could. He said, “The city of Somerville successfully resolved a number of our community’s core concerns regarding the Wynn casino project. While we did not get everything we asked for, the appeal did yield significant and meaningful results for our residents, so we feel the process worked.

Officials for the Wynn Resorts casino hailed the decision to end the appeals process. The legal dispute had led to a war of words in the local media, as Wynn executives and Mayor Curtatone each vied for public support. Throughout the dispute, Wynn Resorts had used the argument that Somerville’s challenge might cost area workers jobs. The casino’s executives also suggested the challenge was a ploy by Joseph Curtatone to boost his political career.

Robert DeSalvio Statement

Robert DeSalvio, Wynn Boston Harbor president, said his company is ready to begin construction. DeSalvio said, “With all legal challenges behind us, we can now focus entirely on making Wynn Boston Harbor one of the most powerful job generators and economic catalysts to ever benefit the Commonwealth. We are pleased to be joined with all our neighboring communities in making this a historic development for all.

With construction to begin soon, the grand opening is expected in June 2019. The new casino, which is located on the site of a closed chemical plant, is expected to draw 18,000 cars per day.

Ferry Traffic Boost Is Lauded

Mayor Curtatone hailed the decision to boost ferry traffic to the area. Though it sounds like a minor assistance, Curtatone said the ferry service plan should “reduce casino road traffic by an estimated 6%, and in one of the most congested areas of the country, every bit counts.

Curtatone added, “Every trip shifted off the road and onto that ferry will reduce air pollution in our neighborhoods and traffic delays for all.”

The 6% rate equates to 1,080 less cars on the road each hour.

About Wynn Boston Harbor

The Wynn Boston Harbor originally was named the Wynn Everett, but Steve Wynn appears to believe a Boston tie-in would be more recognizable and therefore better for marketing to a wider customer base.

The Las Vegas casino company won a licensing process which involved other top developers, such as Caesars Entertainment and a joint venture by Mohegan Sun and Suffolk Downs. Wynn overcame scandals involving alleged favoritism by Massachusetts Gaming Council Chairman Stephen Crosby, the Everett land’s ownership group’s ties to a convicted felon, and a personal dispute between Steve Wynn and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

“A Wynn For All”

The Wynn plan won with a $1.6 billion bid, but the price tag has risen over the months to $2.1 billion. Wynn Resorts worked closely with the local Chambers of Commerce to arrange for local businesses to receive the building contracts. Wynn also announced an apprenticeship program called ‘Building Pathways Pre-Apprenticeship Program‘ on its “A Wynn for All” website.

Robert DeSalvio discussed the collaborations, saying, “Wynn is absolute in our commitment to keep as much spending as possible close to home during our nearly three-year construction phase, particularly with minority, women and veteran-owned vendors. We really want local vendors and workers to step up and play a big role in building Wynn Boston Harbor.

Suffolk Construction and Other Contractors

Suffolk Construction, the largest construction company in Massachusetts, is the primary contractor for the building project. Other local companies have secured contracts, too. Vynorius is contracted to handle pile driving. J. Derenzo Co. is set to provide site work, while Otis Elevator is signed to do elevator work. The Railroad Associates Corp. is building a temporary railroad spur. Meanwhile, Ferguson Neurdorf Glass is designing the hotel curtain wall, while Trevi Icos is building the slurry walls.

A host of other companies are bidding on projects for the Wynn Boston Harbor at present. Those contracts involve electrical work, mechanical work, and the laying of concrete. Other jobs include plumbing, fireproofing, landscaping, painting, millwork, and food service equipment. Most contract bidding is being done in July and August, while the result of bidding is going to be announced in the fall.