Wynn Resorts Seeks Expansion, Faces Environmental Roadblock


Wynn Resorts, the parent company of Encore Boston Harbor, is in the midst of seeking state authorizations to expand the casino across Broadway in Everett. The initiative’s first phase includes a proposal to add 142,000 square feet, featuring a WynnBet Sportsbook, a theater with 979 seats, and a poker room to the casino’s domain.

Earlier, the green light was given to Wynn Resorts by the City of Everett Planning & Development Board. It was acknowledged by the Massachusetts Gaming Committee that the casino was free to expand its gaming reaches across Broadway to an almost 17-acre site.

One of the final obstacles to the project’s complete approval is the nod from the Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Rebecca Tepper. However, her office recently dismissed the plan, stating it failed to comply with the provisions of the Massachusetts Environmental Protection Act in its current form.

By the rule of the state law, Tepper’s office must examine the environmental impacts of projects that need state permits, financial assistance, or land disposition. The Environmental Protection Act’s purpose is to reduce environmental damage to the greatest extent possible.

In Telpper’s team’s assessment of the Encore Boston Harbor expansion project, they found that substantial mitigation for traffic would be necessary. The review highlighted t the developers’ failure to adhere to the strict monitoring protocols previously established by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

Wynn’s plan to erect three new parking garages with a total of 2,200 spaces was viewed as evidence of expected increased traffic from the expansion project. To ensure harm reduction corresponds with the increase in impacts, Tepper called for deeper analysis and consultation.

The casino giant has been directed to produce a Supplemental Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) to address concerns highlighted in Tepper’s review. Given that traffic significantly contributes to environmental damage, it is a pressing issue for the state Energy and Environmental Affairs department.

Currently, Encore’s casino resort already features over 2,900 on-site parking spaces and an extra 800-space parking garage off-site. The construction of three more parking garages is part of the anticipatory measures for a second expansion phase that would herald two new hotel towers with an initial design of 800 more guestrooms.

Pending approval from the state for both phases, the expansion’s total expenditure is expected to be approximately $1.7 billion according to Wynn officials. Encore Boston Harbor was opened in June 2019 at a staggering cost of $2.6 billion.

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