Encore Boston Harbor seeks to construct eating places, leisure venue

Encore Boston Harbor seeks to build restaurants, entertainment venue

Colin A Jung

BOSTON — Encore Boston Harbor and its parent company Wynn Resorts will be ready this week to notify the Massachusetts Gaming Commission of their reduced plan to develop land on Broadway in Everett to include an entertainment venue, restaurants and a parking garage, a commission official said.

Three weeks ago, the Gaming Commission’s chief of community affairs agreed to brief commissioners on the plan, which would include a 1,800-seat entertainment venue, about 20,000 square feet of restaurant space and a about 2,200-space garage. But he said he heard from casino officials in early January that they “decided to pause the permitting process for this development so they can re-evaluate whether the proposed development is the best use for the site.”

Joe Delaney, the director of community affairs, said he recently received a call from Jacqui Krum, Encore Boston Harbor’s senior vice president and general counsel, who said the casino company is now “operational.”

“She had hinted to me that they had reduced the size of the theatre, the entertainment venue, to under 1,000 seats – whether that’s 900, 950, 999 I don’t know, we’ll find out shortly – by saying that they intend to hold the pedestrian crossing over Broadway and so on, and the exact location of that will depend on whether the venue is seen as part of the gaming establishment or not. So we’re going to talk about all of these things.

The Gambling Commission planned to address this issue of whether a development across the street from the casino would be considered part of Encore’s technical “gambling facility” and therefore would be subject to regulatory oversight by the commission and the provisions of the state’s expanded gambling statute Encore officials ruled decided to hit the pause button last month.

The presentation at Thursday’s Commission meeting will be followed by a report from Commission staff on the current issues and a question-and-answer session for Commissioners. A public hearing, where community members or others can make oral statements about the development, is scheduled for later this month, and a decision from the commission is expected in March.