Betting on a casino’s future: Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria hitched his dreams for revitalizing his city to casino mogul Steve Wynn’s vision. So you can’t blame DeMaria for getting worried now that the visionary is gone.
Wynn has left Wynn Resorts, and the Nevada-based company is weighing whether to sell the halfway-done $2.5 billion gambling palace it’s building in Everett. MGM has emerged as one possible buyer, although executives at both companies aren’t talking publicly.
DeMaria fired off a letter this week to new Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox, imploring him not to sell the project and calling for a meeting with Maddox and the company board. The terse letter includes a reminder that Everett officials can veto any transfer of the project’s host community agreement, a local deal necessary for any casino company in the state.
Why might the company sell? While Steve Wynn was chased out by newly reported sexual misconduct claims, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission continues to investigate the company’s handling of those complaints and whether it still meets the state’s suitability requirements.
If MGM or another operator picks up the project, there’s no guarantee that it will do for Everett what Wynn would have done. Wynn Resorts affiliates already have spent tens of millions buying properties up and down Lower Broadway . The short-term goal: to beautify this shabby stretch. The long-term objective: to develop a full-fledged entertainment district, with more hotels and restaurants. To DeMaria, all this development could prompt sorely needed new transit options for his city, such as a commuter rail stop.
This is hard work, remaking a city. DeMaria thought he had the right partner in Steve Wynn. Unfortunately for him, that turned out to be a misplaced bet.