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Foxwoods secures option on 30 acres in Fall River

The partnership proposing a Foxwoods casino in Southeastern Massachusetts has secured an option to buy 30 acres of land in Fall River for the resort, says David Nunes, a member of the partnership.

With the land under agreement, the project can move into formal negotiations on a casino host agreement with Mayor Will Flanagan of Fall River. A binding citywide public referendum on the plans would follow.

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Nunes said he could not yet identify the site and owner of the property, though he said the land is currently in use as a commercial development.

In January, the Foxwoods partnership confirmed its interest in Fall River, after the partners lost a referendum vote on a casino proposal in Milford.

Early plans for the development call for a gambling resort with about 20 restaurants, a hotel, convention and entertainment space, shops, a spa, and a gambling floor.

Foxwoods chief executive Scott Butera said Wednesday that he loves the site and is excited to move forward with the proposal.

Casino development in Southeastern Massachusetts is on a later timetable than the Western and Greater Boston regions, due to language in the 2011 state casino law that delayed bidding in the region to allow a federally recognized tribe, expected to be the Mashpee Wampanoag, time to make progress on a casino.

The Mashpee want to build a casino in Taunton, but the tribe faces legal hurdles that may take a court action or an act of Congress to resolve.

At least one other company is eyeing the area. KG Urban wants to build a casino in New Bedford.

Mark Arsenault can be reached at marsenault@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @bostonglobemark.
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