Wynn: Building in Boston is expensive

Wynn: Building in Boston is expensive

‘We were surprised. We took a lot of bids’

STEVE WYNN TOLD FINANCIAL ANALYSTS on Tuesday that he has been very surprised at how much it is costing to build his hotel and casino in Everett.

As previously reported, the $2.4 billion price tag is up about $300 million since August. But Wynn said the cost wouldn’t be rising anymore. “That’s the end of it — $2.4 billion. It’s bought out with a big contingency,” he said on a conference call to discuss first quarter results.

“The fact that the budget went up in Massachusetts is a function of the surprisingly expensive bids we got from the subs,” said Wynn. “We were surprised. We took a lot of bids. We went back and value-engineered because we didn’t like the bids. But, I tell you, building in Boston is expensive. We were cross-bidding four and five different outfits on things like HVAC, electrical, and plumbing, and those numbers stood.”

Yet Wynn sounded as if he remained bullish on the project, which is scheduled to be completed in mid-2019. He said the cost of living is high in Boston, but so are incomes. He said Wynn Resorts has never located a casino in an area with such high per capita income.

And despite casinos nearby in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, Wynn suggested the company has never operated in a market with such little direct competition. He said the casino will target a market of 4.8 million to 4.9 million people “by ourselves, so to speak.”

Wynn also said he liked the fact that the casino is so close to Boston’s Logan International Airport. He said he was in Boston last week and it took him just 12 minutes to get from the airport to the casino site. He also ticked off all the daily international flights out of Logan to destinations such as Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, London, Mexico City, and Tokyo.

Wynn said the hotel-casino project will have a major impact on the state. “It’s a case study of how a grand hotel in a major metropolitan city can change the neighborhood for the better and be the largest private investment in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the second largest employer in the Commonwealth behind Massachusetts General Hospital,” he said.

The Las Vegas-based casino operator said it was just a coincidence that the cost of the Everett casino was rising by about the same amount as the budget for a Wynn expansion in Las Vegas was being reduced. Wynn is preparing to redevelop a golf course behind one of his hotels in Vegas and has adopted a more conservative approach initially, focusing on convention space and meeting rooms.

“Business is good for us,” Wynn said. But he could hardly contain himself when asked about the National Football League’s approval for the Oakland Raiders to move to Las Vegas. He mentioned that he had been talking about the move recently during a vacation in the Bahamas, where he met with Daniel Snyder, the majority owner of the Washington Redskins, Stephen Bisciotti, the majority owner of the Baltimore Ravens, and Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots.

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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.

He said Vegas on the day of a Super Bowl is a lot like New Year’s in most towns. He predicted Las Vegas will be a perfect location for at least two future Super Bowls.

“This place will go bonkers,” he said.