Fish calls casino ‘game-changer’ for MA
Says delays reinforce image of state as unfriendly to business
JOHN FISH, the developer chosen by Wynn Resorts to build the company’s $1.7 billion Everett casino, said on Wednesday that the ongoing delays in building the facility are reinforcing an image of Boston as an area hostile to business.
“At the end of the day, this is a political issue,” Fish said after a press conference in Everett focused on a Somerville legal challenge to the casino. The challenge from Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone is expected to delay the casino project for at least six months to a year, and it comes on the heels of a hard-fought challenge to the project by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.
“What we need to understand is the message we are signaling to the local, national, and international business community about investing in our community and how difficult that is. We’ve got a reputation for that. We’ve done everything we possibly can to sort of quiet that down. I think this continues to reinforce that, and we need to get away from that,” said Fish, the CEO of Suffolk Construction.
Asked if his concerns about Curtatone’s legal challenge also applied to the earlier challenges brought by his close political ally Walsh, Fish said his concerns applied to the entire state of Massachusetts. “We need to become a business-friendly environment,” he said. “We need to abide by the rules and regulations, but at the end of the day we are a global entity right now. People really respect Boston. We need to identify some of the rules and regulations we’ve had in the past and look at them and see if they are needed going forward.”
“Wynn Everett is a game-changer for our community. It will be the crown jewel for this region,” Fish said. “It’s not just about gaming. It’s about a world class destination facility that will attract national and international business. It will allow us to leverage the billions and billions of dollars that we’ve put in Logan Airport and all of the other areas over the last decade to insure we are a people and business-friendly community.”
Fish said the hotel/casino project is an opportunity “to showcase ourselves, to tell who we are and what our culture stands for and what it means to be somebody from Massachusetts.”He added: “Wynn Everett will be a powerful economic engine for this entire region, probably one of the most powerful that will exist. It will have sustainable impacts on GDP, creating over 4,000 construction jobs and creating over 4,000 permanent jobs. We’re here because the type of jobs this will create are working class jobs, working class jobs for a community that has what we call a problem with the hollowing out of the middle class. It’s something that we need desperately here in Massachusetts.”
Fish said the project should move forward quickly because delays only hurt the image of the state. “We must embrace the opportunity that’s staring us in the face today. We cannot afford the country, the world, to look at Boston as a business unfriendly environment,” he said.