[toc]Massachusetts passed a law to allow three casinos and a slots parlor to operate in the state in 2011. Six years later, the state only has the slots parlor, Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville.
After years of holdups, the casino projects are underway, but Wynn Boston Harbor hit a couple of different skids this year. The luxury resort recently announced construction revisions and increased costs for the multi-billion dollar project.
Wynn Boston Harbor revises retail plan
When the state granted Wynn one of the available gaming licenses, casino developer Steve Wynn sold the concept with the promise of retail. More than just a casino, Wynn Boston Harbor was going to be a high-end shopping destination.
Revised plans indicate there will be only 9,000 square feet of retail space. By comparison, the original plans set aside 56,000 square feet for shops.
Wynn Boston Harbor President Bob DeSalvio announced the changes at a March 2 meeting of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC). A total of ten retail scores have been scrapped from the plans. DeSalvio cited the retail economy as the reason behind the change:
“I’m sure everyone is aware of the retail work being in a bit of an upheaval at the moment. The heavy duty pressure to do online has moved many retailers to cut back on the numbers of stores.”
DeSalvio says the casino courted many of the high-end retailers on Newberry Street in Boston, but had trouble convincing the stores to relocate. Rather than lower the standard of retail tenant, the casino chose to revise the retail plans.
Casino will lose some retail revenue, but gain jobs
Instead of shopping space, the property will feature an additional ballroom in the convention area as well as more restaurant space.
There will be a single retail space called Wynn Collection. The store will house several high-end brands under a single roof, operated by the casino.
The loss of retail space will not result in the loss of jobs. The changes produced a net gain of 177 full-time positions at Wynn Boston Harbor.
Changes and construction costs balloon Wynn costs to $2.4 billion
The changes also mean there will be increased costs to bring the casino to fruition. Revamping the layout is not the only reason the budget is increasing, however.
DeSalvio cited unexpectedly high construction costs at the meeting as another reason costs were going up.
As a result, the project’s budget has ballooned from $2.1 billion to $2.4 billion.
At this price tag, Wynn Boston Harbor will cost as much to complete as high-end Nevada casinos The Palazzo and Bellagio. MGM Springfield, the other Massachusetts casino project, currently sports a $950 million price tag.
MGM Springfield has a scheduled opening of spring 2018. Wynn Boston Harbor will not open until 2019.