State House News Service photo / File

The Gaming Commission ruled Monday that the mixed-use development Wynn Resorts plans to build across the street from Encore Boston Harbor will not fall under its jurisdiction or oversight, but only after imposing seven conditions on the Everett casino’s gaming license meant to satisfy concerns regulators raised with the project.

Last week, commissioners agreed that the development satisfies the first three criteria necessary for it to be considered part of the casino’s official gaming establishment and therefore under commission jurisdiction, but did not feel the fourth and final criterion – whether the commission has a regulatory interest in having the development be part of the official gaming establishment – was met.

“The more narrow question was whether part four of the four-part test, whether the commission has a regulatory interest in including all or parts of the proposed development as parts of the gaming establishment, would be essentially addressed by way of these conditions,” Todd Grossman, the commission’s general counsel, said Monday. “So that’s why these conditions are important.”

As the first phase of its development along Broadway in Everett, Wynn is planning 20,000 square feet of restaurant space, a 999-seat live entertainment venue, a 2,200-space parking garage, and a 400-foot pedestrian bridge to connect the new development to the $2.6 billion casino that opened in 2019. Later phases are expected to include two hotels, a brewery or brewpub, and more. The city of Everett has also rezoned the nearby Exelon power plant property as an “entertainment zone” to spur redevelopment when the plant closes in 2024. And the Exon Mobile tank farm nearby is currently being marketed for sale, with Everett officials saying they hope to attract biomanufacturing projects to the likely-contaminated site.

Chairwoman Cathy Judd-Stein said Thursday she expected it would be a few weeks before commission staff could draft and circulate conditions, but Grossman and the commission’s head of community affairs had a list of seven conditions drafted and ready for consideration at Monday morning’s meeting. Commissioners made a handful of mostly minor edits Monday to what had been prepared.

Two of the conditions are meant to address the concerns the commission had with the planned live entertainment venue at Wynn’s development, two more require Wynn to submit security plans for its planned pedestrian bridge and parking garage, one bars employees at the proposed development from having access to restricted gaming-related spaces, another condition would require Wynn to submit plans for any future developments in the area to the commission ahead of time, and the commissioners also require that the proposal begin its Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) review process.

“We are agreeable to all the conditions as set forth in this meeting,” Jacqui Krum, Encore Boston Harbor’s senior vice president and general counsel, told the commission Monday. After the conditions had been approved and the decision was made not to incorporate the development into the casino’s technical gaming footprint, she added, “We’ll be back in front of you shortly with plans.”

The conditions require Wynn to submit a pedestrian bridge plan covering things like how someone could use the bridge but exit before being directed into the casino and a security plan within 90 days of Monday’s decision and to file a security plan for the parking garage with the commission at least 60 days before it opens.

Wynn Resorts has argued over the last month that its planned development should not be under the commission’s jurisdiction. Commissioners said they were trying to be mindful about balancing the broad oversight powers of the commission and the economic development aims that were baked into the state’s 2011 expanded gaming law.

Tony Starr, an attorney at Mintz Levin who represents Wynn Resorts, told the commission last week that the development’s restaurants, retail outlets and event space are intended to be leased out to third parties and that “extending the regulatory authority into these third party-operated venues across the street, we think, would deter some of the ancillary development that I believe the commission would like to see.”

Having cleared the major hurdles at the Gaming Commission, Wynn’s development is still subject to a local planning process in Everett and must also go through a MEPA review. Future phases of the development, including the current plan to eventually build two hotels in the area, will also have to come back before the commission, a commission official said last week.

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by State House News Service time to read: 3 min