Everett T land appraised at $2.76m

Valuation done in 2013; Wynn deal a year later

WYNN RESORTS PAID $6 million earlier this year for three small, vacant parcels of MBTA land in Everett that were appraised in 2013 for $2.76 million, according to documents released by the transit agency.

Citing sources, CommonWealth reported on May 4 that Wynn paid nearly twice what the land was appraised for, but T officials did not release the appraisal. The transit agency this week released the document, which shows the three parcels were valued at $875,000, $785,000, and $1.1 million, for a total of $2.76 million.

The land deal has become the focus of intense scrutiny, with the mayor of Revere, Dan Rizzo, calling on Attorney General Maura Healey and Inspector General Glenn Cunha to investigate. Rizzo said Wynn paid far less than the land is worth and also charged that the deal was “fundamentally flawed, contrary to public policy, and illegal.”

State transportation officials acknowledge the T land was transferred to Wynn improperly before Wynn Resorts had obtained its environmental permit for the casino project. The land deal is currently on hold, with both the money and the deed to the property in escrow, pending the outcome of the state’s environmental review of the casino project.

The appraisal was done by Steven Foster of Lincoln Property Co. in Boston and submitted to Jeffrey Simon, a former assistant secretary of transportation, on October 31, 2013.

The timing is interesting. On October 4, 2013, Richard Davey, the state transportation secretary at the time, sent a memo to then-governor Deval Patrick’s chief of staff updating him on the progress of the land sale talks, suggesting the net value of the deal to the state could be $30 million. The deal outlined by Davey appeared to involve far more land than the three parcels that were eventually sold, since it would have required Wynn Resorts to build a new operations facility and parking garage on the site.

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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.

Subsequent to October 4, Wynn Resorts must have pushed for a deal involving the three smaller parcels of land, which triggered the request for an appraisal. Subsequent to the appraisal request – but before it was completed – the negotiations for the land stalled and didn’t revive until almost a year later. A deal was reached in September 2014 and the land sale closed in March of this year.

In his report, Foster said his appraisal was based on “extraordinary assumptions and hypothetical conditions.” He said his valuation was based on “the proposed use of these parcels, the proposed development of the adjoining site with a casino, and the proposed zoning changes for the area.” He added one caveat, however. “I have not developed an opinion of the value of these parcels for the intended use,” he said.