Developer says it's reached a deal with mayor on proposed Foxwoods casino in New Bedford

Industries Associated Press

The developer of a proposed casino in southeastern Massachusetts has reached an agreement with New Bedford as the company competes for the state's final resort casino license.

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New York City-based KG Urban Enterprises said Thursday that the agreement calls for a $4.5 million upfront payment to the city, followed by $12.5 million in annual payments once it opens its doors. The proposed casino would be managed and operated by Foxwoods in Connecticut.

The so-called "host community agreement" also calls for environmental cleanup of the proposed waterfront site, which is a former power plant, as well as construction of a conference center and harbor walk.

Andrew Stern, a managing director at KG Urban, described the agreement as "robust" and said Thursday was a "really good day for everyone."

"We have an operator in Foxwoods with an unrivaled knowledge of the New England market, a robust host agreement with the City, and a stunning site and plan allowing for direct pedestrian access between the waterfront and New Bedford's historic downtown," Stern said.

The company did not release the agreement.

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A Foxwoods spokeswoman did not immediately respond to requests for comment. New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell was expected to attend Thursday afternoon's state Gaming Commission meeting, where the regulators were set to discuss the casino competition.

The New Bedford development is among three plans vying for the southeastern region casino license. It's going up against proposals in Somerset and Brockton.

The commission had set a Monday deadline for applicants to submit any outstanding information as part of the initial application process. The New Bedford casino developers, along with Mayor Mitchell's office, had requested at least a 45 day extension to complete negotiations. The Somerset casino developers had requested a 21-day extension.

The commission already has deemed Mass Gaming & Entertainment's initial application for casino on the Brockton fairgrounds "substantially complete." Residents in that city are to vote on the casino proposal May 12.

In other casino developments, officials for Wynn Resorts told the commission Thursday morning that the Las Vegas-based company has made nearly $2 million in agreed-upon payments to communities surrounding its proposed $1.7 billion waterfront casino in the Boston suburb of Everett.

Among them: $200,000 to Cambridge, $300,000 to Chelsea, $250,000 to Medford, $1 million to Malden and $150,000 to Somerville. Wynn also has given the state $1 million in escrow to benefit Boston, which is among the communities suing to block the development, and paid $85 million for a state licensing fee.

Massachusetts so far has awarded two resort casino licenses and one slot parlor license. The other resort casino is being developed in the western Massachusetts city of Springfield by MGM Resorts International. Penn National Gaming is building a $225 million slot parlor in Plainville.