Wynn Resorts, Everett Officials Revitalize MLS Stadium Project

Posted on: October 23, 2023, 08:17h. 

Last updated on: October 23, 2023, 09:53h.

Wynn Resorts and officials in Everett, Mass., are reworking their pitch to state lawmakers to rezone land near the Encore Boston Harbor to allow for the construction of a Major League Soccer (MLS) stadium.

Wynn Resorts soccer stadium Encore Boston Harbor
Wynn Resorts owns a 45-acre section of the Mystic power plant south of its Encore Boston Harbor casino in Everett, Mass. The casino operator wants to partner with billionaire Robert Kraft to build a soccer stadium for his MLS New England Revolution. (Image: The Boston Globe)

Wynn in March acquired a closed section of the Mystic power plant from Constellation Energy for $25 million. The 45-acre site is across Alford Street (Broadway) from the Encore Boston Harbor casino resort.

Encore Boston Harbor is the dominant casino in Massachusetts’ three-casino gaming industry. Since it opened in June 2019, the casino has generated gross gaming revenue (GGR) of more than $2.57 billion, resulting in state gaming taxes of over $643.7 million. The casino has paid many millions more in local taxes and share assessments to Everett and its surrounding communities.

Wynn officials are seeking to expand the casino’s footprint south across Broadway. The company wants to build a new sportsbook, poker room, and 979-seat theater. A subsequent expansion phase would bring two more hotel towers with 800 guestrooms to the complex. If state regulators approve the project, Wynn says the two development stages would cost around $1.7 billion.

Entertainment District

Wynn Resorts wants to further bet on Everett with a partnership with the Kraft Group, which owns the New England Patriots and Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. Kraft also owns MLS’ New England Revolution.

Kraft, the billionaire who owns the holdings company, is seeking a new stadium for his soccer club, as Gillette is too big for the pitch and fans. Wynn officials and Kraft have discussed bringing the team to Everett since 2022.

Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria is supportive of the effort. The mayor says the soccer complex could lead to “a thriving, publicly-accessible waterfront.”

But before the casino company and billionaire can construct a professional soccer stadium on the 45-acre site, state lawmakers or state regulators must agree to rezone the property. The former power plant sits on land within a Designated Port Area, a state-regulated zone that requires it to be used only for industrial purposes.

The only way to remove land from a Designated Port Area is to have the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management agree to lift the restriction or have the Legislature pass a bill that removes a parcel from the industrial boundary.

The Boston Globe reports that lawmakers are working on legislation allowing for a commercial project on the property.

Opponents Voice Concern

A state bill would expedite the removal of the property restrictions, as a rezoning petition with the Office of Coastal Zone Management can endure over two years. Environmentalists say a thorough review is warranted.

“I don’t think anyone would consider this the right way to greenlight a project that will have enormous impacts, and not just in Everett,” Bradley Campbell with the Conservative Law Foundation told the Globe.

Campbell is encouraging a more open and transparent review of the environmental impacts of allowing the contaminated site to be rezoned for commercial use.

The Mystic Generating Station is a power station with four combustion and two steam turbines. It has the highest nameplate capacity — or intended output — of any station in the state. It’s also one of the state’s most polluting stations, according to Community Action Works, a nonprofit that works with local communities to clean up pollution.

Because of changes to the wholesale energy market in recent decades, Constellation says continuing to operate the power station is no longer economically feasible. The company is slowly closing the plant, with a full retirement set for June 2024.