|By Chris Cassidy, Boston
HeraldMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
June 05, 2012--Suffolk Downs bigwigs this morning rolled out long-awaited plans for what they called "a Mecca for entertainment and gaming" -- 200,000 square feet of gaming space with thousands of slots and 200 table games, a 300-room hotel, nightclubs and 10 restaurants.
"Suffolk Downs is the perfect site," said the track's president, Richard Fields.
The carefully choreographed media event featured a slick three-minute video on two HDTVs hyping the 77-year-old track as "one of Boston's legendary sporting venues." Suffolk Downs execs touted their site for its proximity to Logan Airport and the Hub's convention center, an estimated 2,500 construction and 4,000 resort jobs it's expected to produce, and an approximate $200 million in new tax revenue.
"We expect the demand of visitors to be greater than the capacity we provide, especially in the early stages," said Gary Loveman, president of Caesars Entertainment, which is partnering with the track.
Architect David Manfredi used phrases like "urban piazza" and "urban oasis" to describe the look of the resort. The track plans a grandstand and clubhouse that is "reinvented" and "reimagined." He said visitors would drive in on an entrance road modeled after Boston's Commonwealth Avenue and showed a diagram of a lobby with orange trees inside.
East Boston neighbors and union workers applauded at several points as track officials talked up the pros of a Suffolk Downs resort.
Execs also plan a future second hotel. Overall, the project amounts to a $1 billion investment, officials said. Suffolk Downs Chief Operating Officer Chip Tuttle said the track would roll out more detailed plans to ease traffic, improve public safety and create local business partnerships in the next few weeks.
Suffolk Downs is competing for the one casino license in Eastern Massachusetts. With Vegas mogul Steve Wynn and Pariots owner Robert Kraft out of the game, the track appears a near sure-shot. But they are still competing against a proposal from developer David Nunes in Milford and must receive voter approval in both East Boston and Revere, as well as a thumbs-up from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
(c)2012 the Boston Herald
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