An unlikely spot for a $2.1b hotel

Wynn complex surrounded by power plant, box stores, T facility

ON ONE SIDE is a massive power plant. On the other is a commuter rail line and a group of big box stores. To the rear is an MBTA repair facility. Not exactly the most likely spot for one of the poshest hotels on the East Coast, yet Steve Wynn thinks he can turn a polluted piece of property in the midst of an industrial wasteland in Everett into a place where high rollers from all over the country and the world will want to hang out.

Wynn’s plan is to orient the hotel toward the Mystic River and the skyline of Boston. He also wants to put the building on what amounts to a podium, with rooms on the first floor 50 feet in the air. Visitors won’t see the T repair facility from their floor-to-ceiling windows and they probably will have to crane their necks to see the box stores and the power plant.

A power plant sits across an inlet of the Mystic River from the Wynn casino site.

A power plant sits across an inlet of the Mystic River from the Wynn casino site.

“I imagine there are pieces of property with hurdles you can’t overcome,” Wynn told CommonWealth in a 2014 interview. “I didn’t find the site to be disqualified. I found it to be challenging.”

Robert DeSalvio, the president of Wynn Boston Harbor, didn’t see any drawbacks to the site on Thursday when he thanked Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria for welcoming the company to the city. “In reality he saw this gem, the true gem that this site was,” DeSalvio said.

John Fish, the president of Suffolk Construction, which is building the hotel-casino, said he has no doubt people will come from all over the world to visit. He said the project is going to transform the area.

“This is textbook redevelopment,” Fish said. “The Wynn team, and the vision that they have, and the impact they’ll have on this particular site, this will be beyond people’s expectations, absolutely exceed them.”

But what about that power plant over there? Doesn’t that spoil the view?

A series of box stores are on one side of the Wynn Resorts property.

A series of box stores are on one side of the Wynn Resorts property.

“It doesn’t make a difference,” Fish said. “The narrative that they create, the landscaping that they create, the experience that they create, there’s nobody better in the world at doing that than Steve Wynn and this organization.”

Chris Gordon, president of Wynn design and development, saw a silver lining in the power plant, the box stores, and the T facility. “The power plant is pretty cool, when it’s lit up at night,” he said. But then he added that the project’s neighbors have been receptive to their new neighbor. “Imagine if that was Harbor Towers,” he said, pointing at the power plant.

A scrap metal building is located near the casino site.

A scrap metal building is located near the casino site.

DeMaria, the mayor of Everett, said the hotel-casino is going to transform the area. “You look at the T facility. It’s going to be next to a $2 billion resort, so that T facility, the value of that facility, has probably quadrupled in value. So if I’m the governor or the secretary of transportation, it’s time to put that facility out to bid and see how much money you can get for it,” he said. “That facility in 5- 10 years, mark my words, that T facility won’t be there.”

DeMaria said he has another spot in Everett where the T facility could relocate. He said with the T facility gone, Wynn could put up an Encore hotel there. In Las Vegas, Wynn Resorts operates a Wynn and an Encore hotel next to each other on the strip.

“It would be a nice place, close to Boston,” the mayor said. “In Boston, you can’t get a hotel room.”

Meet the Author

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.

What about that power plant? Can you do anything about that?

“No, it’s a power plant. You need it,” DeMaria said. “But once you get in here, you won’t really see much of that.”