Matt Rattanzi, the city’s planning director, said: In recent months, the contest has been narrowed down to two bidders. NextEra, another energy company, and his casino owner Wynn Resorts. NextEra appears to be interested in a submarine power grid connection point, Rattanj said (although NextEra has yet to announce plans for an offshore wind farm in England).
Wynn, on the other hand, would be a logical buyer. You can improve the landscaping around the casino by demolishing most of the power plant infrastructure (the Eversource substation must remain intact). The company has already started developing 13 acres of land on the north side, directly across from the casino. The casino operator can use the power plant land to make the whole area a destination by providing space for the New England Revolution soccer team. The Kraft family, who own the team, have been looking for a home for the Rebs for years to get them closer to Boston from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. The Constellation site is considered one of the best remaining stand-alone football stadiums he has.
It’s not clear where the bid is. Neither NextEra nor he Wynn commented, a spokesman for Constellation only said the company hopes to complete the sale process by the end of his March. (A Kraft family spokesman also declined to comment.)
One thing is clear: potential uses such as another energy facility or sports complex are not certain. City officials have added a power plant site that is currently for sale to the Urban Renewal Zone in 2021. This means that land can be expropriated for economic development purposes. Message from City Hall: Everett’s long-closed waterfront is open to developers who bring in jobs and visitors.
But the road to a football stadium, or any other hospitality or entertainment-related project, can have even bigger pitfalls. The site is located within a zone demarcated by the state that restricts development to marine industrial use, known as a designated port area. No housing. There are no offices or hotels. Not even a park. Of course, there are no stadiums.
When the sale began last July, state representative Dan Ryan tried to address the situation. He sponsored controversial provisions in the state’s economic development bill, removing the site from the port area and exempting it from certain building restrictions imposed by the chapter. 91 tideland rules. With the formal legislative session over, negotiations on the economic development bill stalled, and a simplified version passed in the fall’s informal session excluded the Everett language.
Both the Conservation Law Foundation and the Mystic River Watershed Association opposed Ryan’s amendment, arguing that industrial ports and the Chapter 91 regulations should not be circumvented by legislation. Especially without proper public debate.
Two advocacy groups argue that existing regulatory routes to address these restrictions should be followed to ensure adequate scrutiny. State environmental agencies regularly waive certain Chapter 91 limits on building size in exchange for waterfront access and other public facilities. Obtaining state regulatory approval to remove land from the port area can be a lengthy process with high uncertainty.
While the CLF welcomes cleanup there, conservation groups view the industrial port as a national asset to be protected.
Ryan hopes he can help broker a compromise with environmental advocates in the coming weeks. There is no getting around the chapter process. Both CLF and MyRWA say they still oppose this. However, it could be easier to sell to Congress, especially now that formal sessions have resumed.
DeMaria is keen on redevelopment. He said NextEra does not need all the assets and may share them with another user. Soccer When it comes to his stadium, DeMaria wants to see public transport improvements first. For example, an extension of the Silver Line he busway from Chelsea to Charlestown, or a commuter rail stop on the line passing through Everett. (At least, plans are underway for a footbridge across the Mystic River from the Orange Line Assembly station in Somerville to Encore-his casino.)
DeMaria said the legislation that failed last year was not created just for pastors. Instead, according to DeMaria, it was about getting the best and the best reuse of constellation plots and encouraging more competitive contests for land.
The mayor is fed up with the waterfront, which, in his words, consists of “chimneys and shredders, scrapyards and tankers.” He says it’s time for Everett to shine.
With words like that, it’s no wonder the operators at Schnitzer Steel’s scrap metal site next door to Constellation are clearly nervous. Market conditions also prevented the sale of ExxonMobil’s adjacent tank farm in September, although it may resume activity soon. His two remaining Mystic turbines could hit the market next year after it stops burning natural gas. When that happens, the adjacent Constellation liquefied natural gas terminal, essential to importing fuel into the region, will no longer be viable and may eventually close.
So the sale of the power plant won’t be the final tension between old and new Everett. In fact, the brawl may have just begun.
Jon Chesto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. follow him on twitter @John Chest.