THE TUNE has certainly changed at Wynn Resorts.
A little over a month ago the company announced it was exploring the sale of Encore Boston Harbor to MGM Resorts. Those talks were called off, and CEO Matt Maddox stated emphatically on Friday that the company would not consider selling the property and indeed views it as the anchor for an expanding entertainment district in Everett over the next decade.
“Encore Boston Harbor is not for sale,” Maddox said at a press conference in the facility’s buffet area just off the massive casino floor. “We feel very confident about the location, the partnership with the city, and what this property will generate in the Northeast.”
Maddox said the company has acquired 11 acres of undeveloped property across from the hotel over the last four years and is likely to add even more.
“We want to work with the city to create an entertainment district. It’s not all going to be our company – Wynn,” he said. “We want to work with lots of local developers, potentially other hoteliers, convention centers, etc. But our idea, along with the mayor’s, is to continue to redevelop the area so it’s known as the entertainment district in the Northeast.”
Maddox said the hotel, casino, and convention center that are about to open to the public on Sunday are the first step. “This is what happens,” he said. “You build the anchor and all of a sudden everyone looks around and says, ‘Look at the opportunity.’”
That’s music to the ears of Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria, who talks up the “second phase” of the project every chance he gets. On Wednesday, he said it was his understanding that many of the power plants across the street from the resort are up for sale, and there is strong interest from a number of buyers, including Wynn Resorts.
Maddox sounded bullish on the Boston market, saying he believes Encore Boston Harbor will have an impact regionally as well as internationally.
“I do think that there will be an impact [on Connecticut’s casinos] because, as you know, a lot of the Connecticut market is Massachusetts. Clearly our facility, I believe, is superior and the location and the service are five star. One thing I don’t want to get lost in this is we are in the business of tourism. We believe our company will be able to attract significant international tourism because people are really interested in coming to Boston. This is a great tourist destination,” Maddox said. “We’re focused on the region, but we’re really focused on the planet.”
Maddox said gamblers from the Far East are coming next week to check the resort out along with 25 journalists from Japan, where Wynn Resorts is investigating new casino options. Maddox said many in the casino industry are interested in what Wynn Resorts has done in Everett, building an integrated resort that plays a strong role in urban renewal.
Steve Wynn, who left the company last year amid allegations of sexual impropriety, was not mentioned during the press conference except when DeMaria referred to some early discussions with him in the early stages of the project. In many respects, however, the hotel and casino were the brainchild of Steve Wynn and carry his imprint.