Posted on: October 23, 2023, 08:17h.
Last updated on: October 23, 2023, 08:17h.
Wynn Resorts and officials in Everett, Ma., are revamping their proposal to state lawmakers to rezone land near the Encore Boston Harbor for the purpose of constructing a Major League Soccer (MLS) stadium.
In March, Wynn purchased a closed section of the Mystic power plant from Constellation Energy for $25 million. The 45-acre site is located across Alford Street (Broadway) from the Encore Boston Harbor casino resort.
Encore Boston Harbor is the leading casino in Massachusetts’ three-casino gaming industry. Since its opening in June 2019, the casino has generated over $2.57 billion in gross gaming revenue (GGR) and has paid more than $643.7 million in state gaming taxes. Additionally, it has contributed millions in local taxes and share assessments to Everett and its surrounding communities.
Wynn officials are looking to expand the casino’s footprint south across Broadway. The company’s plans include the construction of a new sportsbook, poker room, and a 979-seat theater. A second expansion phase would bring two additional hotel towers with 800 guestrooms to the complex. If approved by state regulators, the two development stages would have an estimated cost of $1.7 billion.
Wynn Resorts aims to strengthen its presence in Everett through a partnership with the Kraft Group, the owner of the New England Patriots and Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. The Kraft Group also owns the MLS New England Revolution.
Billionaire owner Robert Kraft is seeking a new stadium for his soccer club, as Gillette Stadium is too large for the pitch and fans. Wynn officials and Kraft have been in discussions to bring the team to Everett since 2022.
Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria is supportive of the project, stating that the soccer complex could lead to “a thriving, publicly-accessible waterfront.”
However, before Wynn Resorts and Robert Kraft can proceed with the construction of a professional soccer stadium on the 45-acre site, they need approval from state lawmakers or state regulators to rezone the property. The former power plant currently sits within a Designated Port Area, a state-regulated zone that limits its use to industrial purposes only.
The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management must agree to lift the zoning restrictions or the Legislature must pass a bill removing the parcel from the industrial boundary in order to remove the land from the Designated Port Area.
The Boston Globe reports that lawmakers are currently working on legislation that would allow for a commercial project on the property.
Opponents Voice Concern
A state bill could expedite the process of removing the property restrictions, as the rezoning petition with the Office of Coastal Zone Management can take over two years. Environmentalists argue that a thorough review of the environmental impacts of rezoning the contaminated site for commercial use is necessary.
I don’t think anyone would consider this the right way to approve a project that will have significant impacts, not just in Everett,” said Bradley Campbell with the Conservative Law Foundation to the Globe.
Campbell is advocating for a more transparent and comprehensive evaluation of the environmental effects of allowing the polluted site to be rezoned for commercial purposes.
The Mystic Generating Station is a power station comprising four combustion turbines and two steam turbines. It currently has the highest nameplate capacity in the state, but it is also one of the most polluting stations, according to Community Action Works, a nonprofit organization focused on pollution cleanup in local communities.
Constellation Energy states that due to changes in the wholesale energy market, it is no longer economically viable to continue operating the power station. The company is gradually closing the plant, with complete retirement scheduled for June 2024.