Wynn casino rising beside Mystic River
EVERETT — Roughly 20 months before it is scheduled to open, the Wynn Resorts casino on the Mystic River is beginning to round into shape. It no longer takes much imagination to understand the layout, and to appreciate the massive scope of the place.
The project site is like a busy city at rush hour, with cement trucks, pickups, forklifts, lumbering earth movers, golf carts, and hard-hat workers on foot negotiating bumpy dirt roads around the building. Including managers, there are more than 1,000 people working there, Peter Campot, director of construction for the project, said during a Globe tour on Monday. Wynn Resorts is pouring about $2.5 million a day into the construction effort. The total cost of the hotel and casino — dubbed Wynn Boston Harbor — will be about $2.4 billion — that’s billion with a b. That makes it the largest private, single-phrase construction project in state history.
The easiest way to understand the project is to break it into sections, beginning with the northeastern side, farthest from the river. That space will be home for hotel and casino functions that guests never see, such as the laundry facilities, offices, and the employee dining area. These are known as back-of-the-house operations. This section is the most complete. It is enclosed and watertight. Interior walls are being built, wiring is going in. Some of the interior walls have already been painted, and the exterior facade is being installed.
The next section, heading toward the river, is the massive gambling floor, built above the underground parking garage. Concrete pouring for the casino floor is nearly complete. Much of the floor for the mezzanine level around the gambling area has already been poured as well. When the resort opens, it will be possible to walk around the mezzanine and look down upon the casino’s thousands of slot machines and table games. Exterior walls are going up in this section. In a month or so, the gambling floor will be fully enclosed, so it can be heated for interior work throughout the winter.
Moving further toward the river, the mezzanine level overlooks the lobby, where a long glass wall will face the Mystic. There is a large hole in the lobby roof, awaiting installation of a skylight. Eventually, two curved escalators — not yet installed — will connect the lobby floor to the mezzanine. At the base of those escalators, casino owner Steve Wynn plans to install a Jeff Koons sculpture of Popeye, which Wynn bought in 2014 for $28 million. The statue has been on display in Wynn’s Las Vegas resort.
Up above, the hotel tower stood at nine floors this week, and it’s expected to rise quickly. Plans call for the addition of one floor a week until the tower reaches its full height of 27 stories. Within the next few weeks, installation will begin on the bronze glass curtain wall on the tower. The glass installation will advance up the building as the tower grows taller.
Outside on the water, an excavator fitted with a clamshell bucket floated on a barge, dredging the river bottom onto a second barge. Dredging will continue 24 hours a day for the next four months, Campot said. Most of the work is to remove pollutants in the soil beneath the water, and part is to make the inlet navigable for boats to ferry customers to the resort.
Work also continues on the peninsula at the site that juts into the river. Steel trusses that will support the roof of the resort’s main ballroom are being installed. Along the riverfront, workers have rebuilt the shoreline and installed plants to create a salt marsh. Landscaping at the south end of the peninsula will start in the spring, Campot said.
Construction is “spot-on schedule,” Campot said. “We have a plan to work through the entire winter.”
The resort is scheduled to open at 8 p.m. on June 24, 2019.
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