Encore Boston Harbor Halts Development Plan, Project To Be Reevaluated

Posted on: January 14, 2022, 09:43h. 

Last updated on: January 14, 2022, 10:25h.

Wynn Resorts is reevaluating a planned Everett commercial development across from its Encore Boston Harbor venue. But at least one gaming sector analyst believes it will eventually be built at the Massachusetts casino.

Encore Boston Harbor Entertainment Development
Encore Boston Harbor, pictured above. Casino officials will reevaluate a plan for a nearby entertainment development. (Image: Agoda)

Under a prior plan, the casino company was to locate a 1,800-seat auditorium, 20,000-square-foot restaurant complex, and a parking garage with some 2,200 spaces on the parcel, according to State House News Service, a Massachusetts news agency. The structures were to be on a site across the street from the $2.6 billion resort-casino.

Joe Delaney, chief of community affairs for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC), said this week that Encore officials revealed earlier in January they “decided to pause the permitting process for this development so that they can do some reevaluation on whether the development as proposed is the best use for the site.

Encore has indicated to us that they will come back to us once this evaluation is complete and they have essentially a final proposal to move ahead with, whether it’s this one or with some minor or some major changes,” Delaney added.

When reached for comment this week, an Encore spokeswoman told Casino.org, “We are pleased with the progress we’re making on designing a development plan that will act as a springboard to create a Lower Broadway Entertainment District. We continue to evolve that plan and will present it to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission at the appropriate time.”

Wynn Resorts Is In Trouble, Expert Warns

News about the reevaluation was expected, according to the Rev. Richard McGowan, a finance professor at Boston College who follows the gambling sector.

Given Wynn’s financial condition it is not surprising,” McGowan told Casino.org on Thursday. “Wynn Macau is in serious trouble and the two casinos in Vegas have not rebounded to a full extent. So, quite frankly, Wynn needs to husband its resources.”

Last month, Wynn Resorts’ Wynn Finance arm was downgraded by Moody’s Investors Service, with the research firm citing ongoing weakness in Macau. Heading into 2022, the prospects for an earnest rebound in Macau are murky at best, Casino.org reported in December.

But the planned Everett development remains likely.

“Eventually, Wynn will develop that property, since it is its corporate model not to be too dependent on gaming revenue,” McGowan said. Still, he points out that the COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on that model.

Entertainment District

The original entertainment development was expected to launch this year and be completed in 2024, the Boston Globe reported.

Also, plans for the Broadway development remain at the Everett Planning Department. But public hearings will not move forward until a revised proposal is ready, Delaney said. Before anything is heard by local planning officials, the proposal must be reviewed by the MGC to see if it is considered legally as part of the gaming property, he added.