By Seth Daniel
It’s only been one short year since the Wynn Boston Harbor team and Suffolk Construction began to really ramp up the construction and environmental clean up on the old Monsanto Chemical site adjacent to Charlestown.
For months, the polluted, vacant site was a large hole in the ground and a place where thousands of tons of polluted soils were leaving town weekly by truck and train. Work was being done, but there wasn’t much to see unless you were working on the site or part of the development team.
In December, the first deliveries of steel came to the site, and since then things have been in overdrive.
Now, the site is a frenzy of workers, supervisors, planners and delivery drivers – each going in coordinated fashion in their own direction.
And just one year after things really began in earnest, the curved tower, with the structure of the first five floors completed, is easily observable. The steel structure for the upper floors of hotel rooms is ready to begin going up at a torrid pace, predicted to be moving upward several floors per week. Soon, the structure will be in view from nearly every vantage point in Charlestown.
This fall, he special Wynn Bronze glass will be applied to the exterior. “The construction progress that has been made in a little over one year has been amazing, particularly when you consider the complexity of the project and the limited land access to the waterfront site. From one week to the next you can see more of the hotel tower going up and surrounding structures taking shape. We are on schedule for a June, 2019, opening,” said Bob DeSalvio, president of Wynn Boston Harbor.
In short, immense progress has been made, and the plans for the self-contained resort, which to now have only been available on paper, are very much taking shape on the site before one’s very eyes.
Last week, the Patriot-Bridge took a tour of the site and was able to see the first view of how things are coming together.
First and foremost, the back of the house operations – known as the Central Utility Plant (CUP) is pretty much completed. Miles of piping are being run from there to the main building, with every cut-out and conduit coordinated with a computerized GPS system detailing exactly where everything goes. Mechanicals and giant air conditioning units have been placed on the roof above the CUP. Heating equipment is soon to arrive, and warehouse docks are at the ready.
On the waterfront, the living shoreline is now being completed and plantings and grasses have been planted or placed on the point.
The HarborWalk has begun, with portions of it where the docks are to go in front of the front entrance already poured and walkable. It is very easy to see at this point where the docks for boats and water shuttles will arrive on the western side of the inlet, and how boat visitors will be greeted by lush green trees and landscaping in front of the towering, bronze building.
With the buildings of Charlestown, the Back Bay and downtown Boston in the background, workers are securing the steel framing right now for what will promise to be one of the grandest entrances to a building in all of Boston.
The foyer entrance will be made of glass and allow plenty of natural light accented by floor lamps at regular distances. The foyer will feature the famous Popeye the Sailor Man statue in the back and a floral Ferris wheel in the center of the space. Though it’s just a steel frame now, one can easily see how it will provide the first-impression for those driving up or entering from the Harbor – as well as how it will help the flow of the overall building.
On either side are spaces for restaurants, with a large space on the side closest to street reserved for what will be the signature restaurant. The other side will be another concept restaurant that will connect with the retail and ballroom wing of the facility that stretches out towards the waterfront.
From the third floor of the facility, the views of Boston and the Mystic River are stunning. While most think of the Mystic as a forgotten waterway, from high above it looks very pleasant with the backdrop of Charlestown and the Back Bay/Downtown Boston behind it. Even the giant MWRA windmill contributes to a sense of “cleanness” in the view.
From Harvard Square to the Financial District to the Bunker Hill Monument, the view is a sweeping waterfront landscape of Boston, Cambridge and the river at a vantage point that has likely never existed.
That part of the building will obviously be a world unto itself, and without an inkling of knowledge that a world-class casino floor the size of about two football fields sits right behind.
Through the front of the building and in between the CUP and the tower – basically on top of the three-floor parking garage – is the gigantic casino floor.
At the moment the floor is steel girders and partially poured floors. However, it’s easy to see the bones of the sprawling gaming floor where gaming stations will dot the open area and a mezzanine with high-stakes gaming will exist, as well as another large mezzanine with a sports bar restaurant overlooking the gaming floor.
Beside the gaming floor (but not on it) and under the high-stakes mezzanine will be the buffet, which is described as being an exciting array of choices.
The space will be electric, with so much going on in so many different fashions – from slot machines to poker to sports games on TV to eating an epic buffet dinner with the family.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the property, where the ballroom and convention center are now coming together, a 1,000-guest wedding could be taking place simultaneously and one on the gaming floor would never know.
At this point, one year from the beginning of construction, much of the Wynn Boston Harbor is just steel bones and concrete pillars, but the energy from what is to soon come between these large structures is already clearly visible in the mind of anyone on the site.