Mohegan Sun and Wynn Resorts laid out plans on Friday to help alleviate Boston area traffic created by their proposed casinos. The casino giants are vying for the lucrative eastern region gambling license, which is expected to be awarded in late August or early September.
Mohegan Sun officials at a meeting before state gambling regulators at the Hynes Convention Center said that the casino’s planned $1.2 billion resort on the Revere side of the Suffolk Downs horse racing track would include an estimated $45 million in transit-related improvements. Wynn Resorts officials said their proposed $1.6 billion casino on a former chemical plant site in Everett would include about $50 million in such investments.
This artist’s rendering released on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 by Wynn Resorts shows a proposed resort casino on the banks of the Mystic River in Everett, Massachusetts Wynn Resorts is vying for the sole eastern Massachusetts resort casino license.
Both casino operators put forward a range of traffic mitigating plans including improvements of some of the area’s most congested traffic circles. The casinos said their independent traffic studies suggest any impact to Boston area traffic would come after the evening rush hour commute.
The casinos also said they would be limiting employee parking on site and encouraging mass transit use while also staggering work shifts so that employee are not on the road during rush hour drive times.
Mohegan Sun officials billed their proposal as one of the largest ‘transit-oriented’ developments in state history.
“MGM is very proud to have received the unanimous support of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission after many months of diligent hard work and cooperation by all parties,” MGM Chairman and CEO James Murren said in a statement. Also on Monday, Revere city officials and Mohegan Sun reached a host agreement for a casino resort in greater Boston. It’s a decision that might have a negative impact on Las Vegas based Wynn Resorts and its project in Everett, Massachusetts.
Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria congratulated Revere officials and Mohegan Sun for reaching their agreement on Suffolk Downs but he expects Wynn Resorts to be approved to build its Massachusetts project.
“At the end of the day, despite Suffolk Downs having another bite at the apple, the right proposal for our region is Wynn Everett,” DeMaria said in a statement. “The city of Everett with Wynn Resorts as a partner will continue to work hard and abide by the commissions regulations and the spirit of the law to place our city in the best position to host a world class facility.”
According to the host agreement, Revere would get annual revenue of $25 million to $30 million, payments of $33 million before the casino opens and about $40 million in infrastructure improvements.
The agreement will be put to voters early next year, according to Mohegan Sun. The gaming company moved to form a partnership with Revere after its plans to build a $1 billion resort casino in Palmer, Massachusetts were rejected by voters during a Nov. 5 election.
Both casinos said the improvements would require no taxpayer money.
James McHugh, acting chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission said the transit discussion was an important primer for the panel as it heads into next week’s public hearings on the rival plans.
Mohegan Sun’s proposal will be aired at a meeting Tuesday in Revere while Wynn’s plan will be heard in Everett the following day.
McHugh said transit impacts are among the top concerns for local residents, if past hearings are an indicator.
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