Encore Boston Harbor is a diamond in the rough. The resort casino’s gold facade contrasts its neighbor, a power plant speckled with smoke stacks. There’s a plan to change that, however. A Major League Soccer stadium could be built next to Encore Boston Harbor.
Encore Boston Harbor opened three years ago in Everett along the Mystic River. The 33-acre property includes a casino, hotel, restaurants, spa, salon and a 6-acre park called Harborwalk.
If New England Revolution owner Robert Kraft has his way, the Encore’s blight of a neighbor could become a gleaming new MLS stadium.
Legislative action could make new stadium possible
Massachusetts lawmakers added an amendment last week to an environmental bill working its way through the House. The amendment would end certain environmental protections for the power plant’s property.
Shutting down those protections would allow Kraft to build his stadium. How? The protections that limited what could be built on the property would disappear. That would pave the way for Kraft to work with a developer to build a soccer stadium he’s been chasing for some time.
Building a stadium would require certain dominoes to fall, however. First, the Senate must approve the bill. Second, Gov. Charlie Baker would have to sign the bill into law. Kraft also would have to buy the property from its owner, Constellation Energy. Finally, the stadium would have to be approved by local officials.
Baker likely would support the bill, and Constellation has agreed to sell a 45-acre chunk of its property, according to The Boston Globe. The site also has the support of Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria. He told the Globe he’s excited about the possibilities.
“Everett residents finally have the chance to realize the benefits of the types of economic development opportunities they deserve with the redevelopment of the … Constellation Energy generating sites,” DeMaria said. “I have always known the potential that Everett has to evolve from its industrial age commercial uses because we have the acreage that is no longer found in surrounding communities.”
Kraft has pushed new stadium for years
The Revolution plays in Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. While the stadium creates an electric atmosphere for New England Patriots games, its cavernous confines are a bit too big for MLS matches. A new stadium would give Kraft the chance to create a more intimate home for his soccer team.
Kraft’s attempts to bring that stadium to fruition are as numerous as his Patriots’ Super Bowl titles. The Kraft family and local leaders have pitched multiple stadium locations over the past decade:
- UMass Boston campus
- A south Boston tow lot owned by the city
- Somerville’s Assembly Row
- The old Wonderland dog track in Revere
What makes the Constellation property different? Generally speaking, it has a couple of things going for it.
The property is part of a bigger redevelopment plan that includes a parcel of land ExxonMobil recently sold. The area is ripe for wealthy developers to move in and build. Kraft is wealthy and ready to build. The Krafts already have started informal talks with DeMaria to sell the property, according to the Globe.
Building a soccer stadium next to the Encore is a perfect pairing if lawmakers legalize sports betting. Wynn Resorts, which owns Encore, has been vocal in support of legal Massachusetts sports betting. In reference to a possible sports betting launch, CEO Craig Billings said Wynn is “preparing to be there Day One, and that will be an important event for the business.”