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Mean and Green in Boston


As the Wynn Boston Harbor rises in the town of Everett along the Mystic River facing Boston, the developer is restoring the beach to what it once nearly two hundred years ago when the water was so clean that owners of an oyster restaurant would dig for the mollusks.

Meanwhile the 27-story Wynn casino hotel tower is now five floors higher. The casino resort is set to open in June 2019.

One of the big jobs concurrent with building the casino has been to clean up the effects of the Monsanto chemical plant that was located there for many decades and contaminated the land to a depth of 10 feet or more.

Because the shore is subject to storm surges Wynn is working to transform it. The environmental company in charge of the restoration, Fort Point Associates, sold Wynn on the idea of sacrificing some of the land to pull the existing shoreline out into the harbor, restoring it and to recreate the salt marsh that used to exist there.

Bob DeSalvio, president of Wynn Boston Harbor, is all in on this concept. He said: “Instead of having that sort of constant pounding that you get with a traditional bulkhead … the concept of the living shoreline is to create much more ease for the water to come up and find its natural point and then go back down to its more natural level.”

This will create a natural waterfront that will protect the casino from flooding. “At the end of the day there, you’d probably have some landscape damage, maybe some damage to the harborwalk, but the casino building would be pretty much left untouched,” said DeSalvio.

This will protect the casino from the higher levels of water some expect from climate change.

Angus Leary, general manager of the construction firm Suffolk, said developers are increasingly taking this into account and planning for decades into the future. “Now we’re really looking at, what are those impacts, projecting out 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, 40 years, 100 years? And then, what can we do now to prevent issues that far out?” he said.

One overarching reason for that is the huge investment that needs protecting. The price tag for the Wynn Boston Harbor is now $2.4 billion. It is the largest development built in one phase in the history of the Bay State.

Jamie Fay, president of Fort Point Associates, said, “This is a waterfront site. We know for a fact that sea levels are going to rise. We may not know how much and how fast, but we know it’s happening.” He added, “This is a really huge investment of dollars and they want to make sure that they were fully taking into account the potential for future sea level rise in building this project.”

MGM Springfield

The $950 million MGM Springfield is marching steadily towards a September 2018 opening. Virtually all of the outside work has been done and, in anticipation of fall, workers will soon shift inside for interior framing, sheet rock work, storm piping and fire protection, among other tasks.

Earlier this month MGM told the Massachusetts Gaming that it is greatly exceeding its goals for diversity hiring and contracting. The project is said to have created about 2,000 construction jobs and will, once it opens, employ about 3,000. MGM has committed to recruiting about a third of those from Springfield.

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