Wynn Resorts officials announced Wednesday that their plans to build a $1.7 billion casino and resort in Everett, MA, are on hold after Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone appealed an environmental permit for waterside construction projects, according to Boston.com.
The company said the groundbreaking — originally set for the spring — will be pushed back, and they will institute a hiring freeze on workers for the project.
Curtatone, who has opposed the project for years, said he was not at fault for the delay, as Wynn should have known the appeal was likely. His appeal was the result of some local concern that the casino project does not have an effective plan to handle traffic, and that the increase in traffic could cause pollution problems.
Labor representatives and the mayor of Everett have asked Curtatone to drop his appeal, as the 3-million-square-foot resort complex is expected to generate 4,000 union construction jobs over the next two years and 4,000 permanent jobs by the end of 2018 — the original target opening date.
Last month, in one of the largest private construction contracts ever awarded in Massachusetts, Wynn Resorts awarded Boston's Suffolk Construction a $1 billion contract to build the casino.
John Fish, CEO of Suffolk Construction, told local Boston.com of the recent appeal, "This doesn’t cause me to lose respect for Mayor Curtatone... The parties have to deal with it in the most appropriate way possible. I think what we identified today is, what impacts is this delay having?"
The state Department of Environmental Protection said the appeals process could take up to a year, which would have a significant impact on the casino's construction schedule.
Suffolk has worked on other casino projects in Florida and California, but in January, Fish called the Wynn project "the crown jewel of our portfolio."