EVERETT — With several cranes and more than 100 construction workers behind him, Robert DeSalvio, the president of Wynn Boston Harbor, marked the official start of construction on the $2.1 billion casino with the blow of a horn.
A day after receiving a key state environmental permit that gave the project the go-ahead, Wynn Resorts officials were already looking forward to the casino’s expected opening by June 2019.
“There’s no stopping us now,” DeSalvio said Thursday at a news conference held at the casino site in Everett. “It’s onwards and upward for Wynn Boston Harbor.”
The resort casino will be built on 33 acres along the Mystic River, land that Mayor Carlo DeMaria said has been inaccessible to the public for more than a century because of heavy industrial use.
“Today, we begin turning back the tide and tearing down the walls of toxic pollution and cleaning up the site,” he said. “Wynn alone is providing the resources and infrastructure needed to make our harbor and riverways accessible to all by walking, biking, kayaking, or public transit.”
The environmental permit, issued by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection over an appeal by officials in Somerville, calls for Wynn Resorts to run a ferry service for visitors and create more than six acres of open space at the property. The company plans to provide public access to the waterfront along landscaped paths and parks.
The environmental permit was the last major regulatory hurdle for the project, which is billed as the largest private single-phase development in Massachusetts history.
Officials in Somerville had contested the permit, saying Wynn Resorts needed to do more to address traffic and environmental issues. This week, Mayor Joseph Curtatone of Somerville said city officials are considering whether to appeal the state permit in Superior Court.
“Our goal has never been to stop the casino,” he said. “It’s always been to mitigate the negative effects on our environment, and protect the health and safety of our residents.”
Curtatone chose not to ask the DEP to reconsider its recent approval of the permit.
In Everett, Christopher Gordon, president of Wynn Design and Development Massachusetts, said the project will provide a major economic jolt, creating thousands of construction and hospitality jobs.
There were about 150 workers at the site Thursday, Gordon said. Over the course of the project, the company plans to employ 4,000 union construction workers, he said.
Gordon said the company is committed to finishing the project as quickly as possible. By year’s end, steel beams will protrude from the ground, and the entire building will be framed by 2017. Then comes the furniture for the hotel rooms, and, of course, slot machines.