Prep Work Begins at Future Site of Wynn Everett Casino


Prep work at the site of the Wynn casino. Photo by Garrett Quinn

Prep work at the site of the Wynn casino. Photo by Garrett Quinn

Site preparation work for the $1.7 billion Wynn Resorts casino in Everett began on Thursday with a small crew, an excavator equipped with claws, and a 10 wheel dump truck.

While the workers dealt with a pile of concrete and other detritus on the former industrial site, a small group of mostly older Wynn supporters and officials gathered about two football fields away. They looked on as the excavator busted up the concrete while posing for photos.

If this was a photo opp, it was not a typical one. There was no ceremonial ribbon cutting with oversized scissors; no formal groundbreaking with local dignitaries holding goldplated shovels while grinning for the camera. This felt more like a very low-key celebration of another milestone on Wynn’s roundabout journey to building a resort casino in Massachusetts.

People in Everette feel that this project is going to transform not just the sprawlish industrial stretch of Route 99 that flows into Sullivan Square but their whole city. With the Wynn casino, Everett will shift from being a city without any hotels or motels to speak of to home of one of the most iconic five star resort brands in the world.

Some Everett residents present at the event were over the moon about the site of a mere excavator hammering away at a drab pile of concrete.

“I can’t wait until this thing is built. It’s gonna be grand! It’s gonna transform the entire region,” said Joe Marino, 76.

Approximately a month’s worth of site preparation will take place before $25 million’s worth of environmental remediation of the heavily contaminated former Monsanto property will begin. For now, workers will clear tress, overgrown brush, make clearer entrance and exit points, and, of course, put up fencing around the property.

The complex remediation portion of the project is expected to last three months, wrapping just before winter really sets in.

While all of this is going on, the future of the project will still be fought over in court, as some surrounding communities are unhappy with how the licensing process went down. The project recently cleared a major hurdle when it was awarded a crucial environmental permit from state officials.

With all the legal wrangling and permitting headaches surrounding the project, Wynn officials and Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria still managed to sound upbeat about its future when asked about it on the site.

“We feel very good about getting through that process and lead us to where we are today, which is site preparation and preconstruction,” said Wynn Everett President Robert DeSalvio.

DeSalvio said that Wynn officials are optimistic about their next discussions with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a strong opponent of the project. Walsh and DeSalvio are both on record in recent days saying a planned post-Labor Day meeting between the two has not been scheduled.

“We’re excited to get this project underway. We’re moving forward,” said DeMaria.

DeMaria said he underdstood where Walsh was coming from with his opposition to the project but emphasized that it could be the catalyst to final fix the Sullivan Square rotary.

The casino is scheduled to open sometime in 2018.