Wynn to spend $90m buying land near casino
Wants to make Everett entertainment, convention destination
LAS VEGAS MOGUL STEVE WYNN said he has already spent $75 million buying up property near the Wynn Resorts hotel-casino complex in Everett and plans to spend a total of $90 million.
“It’s property that we’re buying so we can turn Everett into a great example in America of how a business can change a neighborhood,” Wynn told a meeting of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday. “Our hopes and plans are to make Everett an entertainment and convention destination that completes and complements the one that exists already here in Boston.”
The Boston Globe reported on the property acquisitions in March and said $19.5 million had been spent at that point. The pace has apparently picked up dramatically, with Wynn indicating that he will use the newly acquired property not just to clean up and improve the area around his $2.4 billion casino project but expand its base of non-casino businesses.
Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria said the city has received no formal plans yet from Wynn Resorts for the properties the company is gobbling up along Broadway, but he said he expects the area to be used for hotels with as many as 2,000 rooms. DeMaria said Wynn isn’t buying the properties, often paying well above market rates, as a way to landscape the hotel-casino complex. He said Wynn wants to transform an area dominated by scrap yards, used car lots, and industrial uses into an entertainment district.
Marty Meehan, the president of the University of Massachusetts, introduced Wynn to the audience and told the group: “We are very, very lucky to have Steve Wynn investing in Massachusetts.”
Wynn, the chief executive of Wynn Resorts, dropped the news about the property acquisitions during a funny and entertaining speech in which he covered fairly familiar ground about his family, his upbringing, and his vision of a casino industry in which non-casino operations are more important than slots and table games. Along the way, he imitated billionaire Warren Buffet and former Coca-Cola chairman Robert Goizueta and heaped praise on Gov. Charlie Baker.
Wynn said Baker met with him on Oct. 13 during a trip to Las Vegas, where the governor visited a memorial to victims of the Oct. 1 mass shooting and attended a panel discussion on clean energy hosted by Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval. Wynn did not disclose what the meeting was about, but Baker aides said the meeting focused on economic development issues related to a firm that will soon be one of the state’s largest employers.
“You are so lucky to have such a grounded, sensitive, intelligent man as your governor. I found it very, very stimulating and rewarding to meet him, first here in Massachusetts and then for a few moments in Nevada. You’ve got a great governor, a moderate Republican,” he said, as the Chamber of Commerce crowd broke into applause. “Applause on the Republican line,” quipped Wynn, who is the finance chairman of the Republican National Committee. “This has turned out to be a helluva’ day.”
Wynn made clear he spares no expense in attracting visitors to his hotels and casinos. He said the lobby of his Everett hotel will feature two escalators rising to the second level, but instead of side-by-side, straight up-and-down escalators they will be curved and facing outward, almost touching at their midpoints. “I thought wouldn’t that be fun,” he said.
Wynn said regular escalators cost $90,000 apiece, but his Mitsubishi curved escalators will cost $900,000 apiece.
When the laughter died down, Wynn said: “I’m 75 and I’m thinking of it, too.”Wynn said one of the restaurants at his Everett casino-hotel project, which is scheduled to open in May or June of 2019, will be named Sinatra, after the legendary singer Wynn worked with for a period of five years. Wynn recounted how Tina and Nancy Sinatra had given him awards Sinatra had won to be placed at his Sinatra restaurant in Vegas. The awards included the Emmy Sinatra won for the television special “A Man and His Music,” the Grammy he won for the song “Fly Me to the Moon,” and the Oscar he won for his role in From Here to Eternity.
Wynn said he brought the awards to his office one night around 9:30. “I lit up a cigar, I turned on Sinatra, and I was holding the Oscar in my hand. It was just such a sweet moment,” Wynn said. “I called up Stevie [Steve Lawrence, a mutual friend of Wynn and Sinatra] on the phone and I said, Stevie, I’m sitting in my office. I got the Grammy from Come Fly With Me, I got the Emmy, I got the Oscar, and I’m listening to Sinatra. He says, ‘I’ll be right there.’”