Developer Proposes Multi-Use Gaming Complex in Wareham
WAREHAM — A development partnership led by a major South Shore real estate executive has announced plans for a multi-use entertainment development with a gaming component in Wareham.
The Notos Group, LLC and Thomas O’Connell plan, who were behind the Marina Bay complex and Granite Links Golf Club in Quincy, are asking state lawmakers to change a Massachusetts Gaming law to allow for a license to be issued for a less than full-scale resort casino at a 300-acre site off Glen Charlie Road.
“Basically, there’s a license available. It’s too big. It’s for an Encore style kind of full destination casino. That doesn’t make sense here in Wareham or I think makes sense anywhere in Region C. But, that doesn’t mean there couldn’t be an appropriate level of electronic gaming similar to the size of the license that’s at Plainridge Park,” O’Connell told the media at a press conference announcing the plans in Wareham on Tuesday.
“We know that this is an approximately 300-acre site, and it’s currently an active gravel pit. We also know is that it’s currently zoned as an R-130, a residential zone. So, what’s allowed is up to 200 new homes. As I met neighbors and talked with Town officials, basically that is not the preferred use for this site.”
O’Connell and Notos are not convinced a third full-scale casino is needed, especially in the south eastern part of the state known as Region C, and plans to ask the Legislature to amend the 2011 expanded gaming law to give the Gaming Commission the flexibility to issue such a license. The 2011 expanded gaming law called for up to three resort casinos, one per region, and up to one slots parlor in Massachusetts.
Notos plans to draft and support legislation that would give the Gaming Commission flexibility to issue either a second slots parlor license or to license another type of gaming establishment that would fall somewhere on the spectrum between slots parlor and full-blown casino, the source said. The legislation has not yet been drafted.
“Part of this plan is a full, one-mile thoroughbred race track. This is not your father’s race track. This is a new, state-of-the-art thoroughbred racing facility in the same class as Saratoga or Churchill Downs,” O’Connell said.
“The structure next to the race track hosts both the grandstand and proposed gaming floor. Each of the elements are designed to work together, to compliment and enhance each other. One tremendous benefit that I’m very proud to reveal here is a new, permanent home for the Wareham Gatemen – the 2018 Cape Cod Baseball League Champions. Other key elements of the project include a 171-key hotel, as well as new retail, restaurants and entertainment.”
Notos and O’Connell also announced plans to construct an interchange leading from Route 25 to the resort. The developer says the roadway will help to reduce traffic on the highway and Glen Charlie Road.
The group estimates the multi-use complex to come at about a $300 million price tag.
“Let me stress here that this is not another casino project. I do not think that another casino project is viable at this time. We intend to leverage electronic gaming to create a transformational and industry saving world-class thoroughbred racing and entertainment venue.”
“We have market studies that demonstrate strong economic viability from a smaller, Category 2 license. We believe that combining that with a unique, multi-faceted and top-quality entertainment experience has a much greater chance for long-term sustainable success.”