Revere officials find major code violations at Wonderland site

Mayor Arrigo presses for property’s redevelopment

REVERE MAYOR BRIAN ARRIGO said city inspectors have identified code violations at the former Wonderland dog track that could lead to fines totaling $10,000 to $15,000 a day.

Arrigo indicated he has no immediate plans to collect the fines, but wants to use them as leverage to spur the owner of the property to move quickly to tear down the abandoned buildings at the site and begin redevelopment of the property. During his campaign for mayor, Arrigo made code enforcement  and removal of neighborhood eyesores a high priority. Arrigo took office in January.

Arrigo Brian

Mayor Brian Arrigo

Wonderland shut down in 2010 after greyhound racing was banned statewide.  In addition to the track, there are four buildings on the site, including a club house, a grandstand, a veterinary clinic, and an office building. Most of the buildings have been abandoned since the track closed and are in severe disrepair.

The property is owned by CBW Lending, a New York company that shares several of the same principals as Sterling Suffolk Racecourse, the firm that owns Suffolk Downs.  The shared principals include Coastal Development, a New York firm headed by developer Richard Fields; concessionaire Joe O’Donnell; and Vornado Realty Trust.

The owners of Suffolk Downs lost their bid to win an eastern Massachusetts casino license in September 2014 and since then have been trying to figure out what to do with the racetrack and the Wonderland site. CBW issued a statement Tuesday indicating the company plans to work closely with the Arrigo administration on redeveloping the Wonderland site.

“Mayor Arrigo has made it clear that Wonderland is a priority for the new administration,” the statement said. “We have taken the appropriate steps to keep the premises secure, including a Revere police detail, and have engaged environmental and construction professionals to work with the city to evaluate our next steps on the project.”

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Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Omar Boukli, Revere’s chief administrator, said the city’s Inspectional Services Department conducted an inspection at Wonderland last Thursday and uncovered numerous code violations. He said the inspectors are preparing a full report for the mayor, and then will work with the property’s owners to develop a timeline for demolishing the buildings.

Boukli said the city has been working cooperatively on issues related to the Wonderland site with Chip Tuttle, the chief operating officer at Suffolk Downs.