Everett Casino Expansion Suspended Due to Impasse

The Encore Boston Harbor casino. State House News Service photo | File

The expansion of the Encore Boston Harbor casino in Everett has been suspended as the casino and city can’t come to terms over things like taxes and impact fees, Encore parent company Wynn Resorts said this week.

Wynn had been seeking to build a new facility across Broadway from the $2.6 billion casino that opened in 2019 as the first phase of an expansion meant to contribute to the emergence of a new entertainment district in Everett. The initial expansion planned a dedicated poker room, a second sports betting parlor, a relocated nightclub, a theater, a comedy club, parking garage and more. It had been advancing as the city also works to clear the way for a professional soccer stadium in the same neighborhood.

“We remain optimistic about the project fulfilling the city’s and our shared goal of developing an exciting and vibrant destination district on Lower Broadway with restaurants, hotels, theaters and other recreational uses. However, it has become apparent that we are unable to negotiate an agreement with the city of Everett regarding property taxes, impact fees and infrastructure improvements in a timely fashion,” the company said in a statement that replaced the website for the project. “Until these issues are addressed with a financially viable resolution we have a responsibility to our shareholders, and cannot continue to incur project costs.”

The news was announced Tuesday during Wynn Resorts’ earnings call and was previously reported by the Boston Herald. On the call, CEO Craig Billings said that the suspension of the project was “disappointing” but added that Wynn has “numerous other development projects globally where we can redirect the capital we intended to deploy in Boston.”

Everett Mayor Carlo De Maria’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

During a meeting Thursday morning, Gaming Commission Executive Director Dean Serpa mentioned the reports of the project suspension and said the information available publicly is in line with the commission’s understanding of the project’s status.

“Obviously, we’re all prepared and ready to move forward as things develop further,” he said.

Encore’s expansion has been on the commission’s radar for years, and this is not the first time the project has been put on hold. In early 2022, Wynn “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,” a Gaming Commission official said at the time.

The expansion was initially proposed without sports betting or poker components, but Wynn changed course and wanted to expand its gambling operation across the street once Massachusetts legalized sports betting later in 2022.

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The Encore Boston Harbor casino. State House News Service photo | File