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The dispute over the proposed Everett casino got testy this week, with a war of words between Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and casino developer Steve Wynn. In the meantime, plans for the casino’s construction are ongoing. Bob DeSalvio and I have to crouch under a chain loosely strung across a gate to get onto the property.

DeSalvio is president of Wynn Everett, which has plans for this weedy expanse of concrete. In his blue suit and red tie, he looks a little out of place on this barren site along the Mystic River. But DeSalvio calls the 33 acre lot a “gem.”

“We’re looking at a site that was an active chemical plant for the better part of 60–70 years. And so now what’s happened is the buildings on the site have long since gone.”

The ground we’re standing on, he says, was covered up years ago with fill from the Big Dig.

Wynn says that the tunnel muck from the Deer Island project was used for fill at the site. "However, underneath the surface are still some very difficult areas that need to be cleaned up, primarily arsenic and lead” he says. 

The full cleanup will cost 30 million dollars, paid entirely by Wynn. For DeSalvio, that’s worth it. As we walk towards the water, he shares his vision of what’s coming.

“So right now, as we’re rounding this corner on the right hand side would be the porte cachere entrance to the facility. The harbor walk would be out in front of us along the water.”

There will be a 630-room hotel, meeting space, retail shops, and a spa. And then, of course, there’s the 150,000 square foot casino, which will sit behind the hotel.

“The reason that we put it there was to treat this a lot differently than most casinos.,” says DeSalvio. “In a lot of casinos, you think about the old days of Vegas or whatnot, when you walked into the property you were literally in the casino. So what we wanted to do was make sure the property could be easily navigated for some of the folks who may not be interested in the casino facility.”

DeSalvio says this place is going to be a huge economic benefit to the region.

“We’ll be generating, think about this, 200 million dollars a year in tax revenue come out of this facility and go into the Commonwealth.”

And while that’s clearly a good thing for state and local governments, there’s no getting around that a good chunk of that money is coming from gambling losses – some of it from people with compulsive gambling problems.

“It’s somewhere between 1 and 3 percent of the population.”

DeSalvio says dealers will be trained to spot people who might be having a problem.

“We’re not mental health professionals,” he says. “We just want to make sure we ask them if they’re OK, I they think they’re having a problem we want to make sure we point them in the right direction.”

Wynn recently scaled back the number of parking spots they plan to have on site, because they say they want to encourage people to take public transportation. To help with that, the company recently agreed to pay more than 7 million dollars over 15 years to add Orange Line trains.

“And those are trains that not only service our facility, but they’ll go up and down the entire Orange Line,” says DeSalvio.

They’ll also have water taxis, and maybe even a footbridge over the Mystic River to get to the site from Somerville. But, of course, a lot of people are going to come by car. And DeSalvio says they’ve thought a lot about the traffic.

“We wound up going out to I think 57 different intersections to study, including looking at I–93.”

He says they looked at where the cars would come from and how they’d get to the casino.

“What we are obligated to do as a developer is to go into any area where we create increased traffic and make physical or operational changes to any intersection so that the level of service is the same or better than when we got there.”

And DeSalvio says they plan to do that.

“We’re looking at probably close to 100 million dollars in transportation infrastructure improvements.”

Of course, the city of Boston has said that because so many of the roads that the cars are going to be going through to get here are in the city, that the city should be considered a host community— but Wynn doesn’t agree.

“No, the issue of host community status was asked and answered many times in the past. This building, our resort, is in the city of Everett.”

Mayor Marty Walsh told WGBH, very recently, that he was offered a nine-figure settlement from Wynn, to make that lawsuit go away. However, Desalvio denies this, saying “No, we were not involved in any settlement discussions.”

On top of the Boston lawsuit, and similar ones by Somerville and Revere, a group of taxpayers is challenging the sale of three MBTA parcels to Wynn.

“There’s one right here at the entrance way,” he says, pointing. “There’s a strip of land at the back of the property, and there’s one at the far corner of the site.”

DeSalvio says the sale of the land had been put on hold until state environmental officials finish their review of the project. He’s hoping to have that resolved by the end of this month.

Wynn says none of the issues and legal challenges have slowed down their efforts to transform this ugly spot.

“You have to have vision. You have to look at this site and realize what it could be, not what it is today.”

The lawsuits are still pending, but DeSalvio insists three years from now, this will be a very different place.