Wynn Boston Harbor Can’t Bring Fifth Avenue to Everett, Scales Back High-End Retail Space

Posted on: March 22, 2017, 12:00h. 

Last updated on: March 22, 2017, 11:33h.

Wynn Boston Harbor in Everett, Massachusetts, won’t become the next Fifth Avenue or Newbury Street.

Wynn Boston Harbor retail shopping
All those luxury retail shops that were sold to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission during Wynn Boston Harbor’s pitch are being returned. (Image: Patrick Whittemore/Boston Herald)

Appearing before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) earlier this month to provide an update on the $2 billion construction project, Wynn Boston Harbor President Robert DeSalvio revealed that the casino resort is greatly scaling back its retail shopping space. The new plan is to devote 9,177 square feet to shopping, down more than 83 percent from the originally envisioned 56,602 square feet.

The elimination reduces the number of shops by 10. Wynn Resorts pointed to retail struggling nationwide as the primary reason for the amendment.

“Quite honestly, Wynn focuses on a very high end luxury group of retailers which are pretty well represented on Newbury Street in Boston,” DeSalvio explained to the MGC. “We talked to them and for them to close a store and break a lease and move a store a few miles away, rebuild and re-open, that was a tall order.”

Wynn Boston has been no easy go for Steve Wynn. The resort was engaged in a lengthy environmental dispute with nearby Somerville, which it ultimately won, and remains tangled in a lawsuit brought on by Revere that says the MGC worked behind closed doors in approving Wynn’s proposal in Everett.

Vision Hindsight

When Steve Wynn proposed his resort to the MGC, the billionaire told the state the venue wouldn’t simply be a casino and hotel, but a premiere shopping destination in the northeast.

“In addition to offering a luxurious and stylish array of men’s and women’s fashions from across the globe, Wynn Boston Harbor will also feature an eclectic mix of the world’s most beautiful and one-of-a-kind jewelry and accessories,” the resort’s website states.

But at just over 9,000 square feet, that’s roughly the size of 3.5 Chipotle restaurants. Not exactly a shopping epicenter.

Replacing the shops will be added convention space and an Italian restaurant, oyster bar, and craft beer dispensary. Wynn is appeasing the commission by saying the number of full-time jobs will expand due to the added eateries by 177 positions.

Mohegan Sun Expansion

Two hours southwest of Everett, the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut is announcing its own change of plans. The tribal group is set to detail construction on an $80 million expo center that will open with the prestigious 2018 Barrett-Jackson Northeast auto auction.

The Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes are currently working together on a third casino in the Constitution State. After obtaining approval from the state, the two Native American groups signed a deal with East Windsor to build a $300 million satellite gaming facility.

The targeted location is just 13 miles south of the future MGM Springfield in Massachusetts, a $950 million project that is likely going to siphon gambling dollars from Connecticut.

The two mega-casinos in Massachusetts are expected to open in 2018 and 2019, Wynn Boston Harbor being the latter. But south in Connecticut, Mohegan Sun is remaining bullish and investing in its portfolio to better position itself for the long-term.