Responding to complaints about plans to develop its proposed $1 billion casino resort in phases, Suffolk Downs has acknowledged that the host cities control when the resort could open, and that the project cannot be done in phases without the support of local officials.
Track officials would not comment further, but they continue to make the argument to public officials that it would make sense to open in stages — to begin to provide tax revenue and jobs — while construction continues on the more time-consuming aspects of the development, according to Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo.
Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston publicly objected this month to plans from Suffolk Downs to open a gambling floor first, and then a hotel and amenities in a second phase. Menino said a piecemeal project would lack the “wow” factor to draw visitors and drive additional economic development.
The committee Menino named to advise the city on casino issues urged the track to submit plans “that complete the project in a single phase.” As of Friday, Suffolk Downs had not yet submitted those plans, according to the mayor’s office.
But in a written response to Menino’s committee, Suffolk Downs noted that “the timing of the opening of our project is dependent on independent decisions made by the city, the Gaming Commission,” and state environmental officials — an acknowledgment that public officials, especially mayors, hold vast leverage under the state’s 2011 casino bill.
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