The Everett Planning Board approved an Encore Boston Harbor expansion known as “East of Broadway.”
The project will expand the casino’s footprint across the street from the Wynn Resorts-owned property.
Encore Boston Harbor is the largest of the Bay State’s three brick-and-mortar casinos. Last month, it accounted for nearly two-thirds of the Massachusetts casino revenue. As a result, it paid nearly $15 million in state taxes. This expansion will make the property even bigger.
If the legislature legalizes Massachusetts online casinos in the future, the property will certainly give Wynn an inroad to the market.
What’s next for Encore Boston Harbor’s expansion?
Next, Encore Boston Harbor needs approval from the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Office to proceed with the planned 142,000-square-foot expansion. MEPA focuses on environmental concerns related to new construction and development in the Commonwealth.
But MEPA hasn’t announced a hearing date. Therefore, there’s still no timeline for the project’s completion.
If MEPA approves, the new area will add two hotels, a 979-seat theater, a nightclub, sportsbooks, and poker rooms. Patrons can utilize a pedestrian bridge to access East of Broadway from the existing Encore casino and hotel.
The expansion is part of an effort to develop Everett’s former industrial waterfront section, which lies about six miles south of Boston. Wynn opened Encore Boston Harbor in 2019.
Massachusetts Gaming Commission supports project
Last February, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted 4-1 to approve the expansion. The vote came after reviewing a presentation from Wynn Resorts. The MGC cited its support for development in Everett that would help tourism in the region and lead to new jobs.
In conjunction with a few local organizations, Wynn Resorts proposes to “transform Lower Broadway into a vibrant mixed-use urban neighborhood with a strong identity, civic spaces, employment opportunities, recreational amenities, and public access to the Mystic River,” according to the presentation.
Wynn is mindful that a casino is not the only reason patrons may want to visit Everett’s waterfront section.
Consequently, Wynn has a large theater and restaurants as a central part of the plan. Half of the proposed expansion is earmarked for entertainment, food, and beverage. The theater will be a live entertainment venue for hosting music, theater, comedy, and other acts.
New proposed gaming areas will comprise less than 5,000 square feet of the new space across Broadway. Currently, Encore has 200,000 square feet of gaming floor. The current structure, including the hotel and conference areas, is more than 3 million square feet, making it the largest private commercial construction project in the commonwealth when it was built.
The construction will add a pedestrian bridge spanning U.S. Route 99 across Broadway Avenue. There will also be a 60,000-square-foot warehouse added for use by Encore. A parking garage will add more than 2,300 spaces.