Experts Deem Proposed Philadelphia Wynn Casino Site Archaeologically Important
As Pennsylvania gaming regulators look to issue a second casino license for the Philadelphia area sometime in early 2014, there’s a new kink in a plan by the Wynn Company to build a casino resort along the Delaware River.
Archaeologists familiar with the project say that the land on which Wynn plans to build is historically important and likely contains artifacts from Native Americans as well as from a glass works that first began operating on the site in 1831, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Land was using itinerantly by Native Americans before industry came in
According to a thorough history of land use in the area published last year on the web site hiddencityphila.org, it is likely that Native Americans used the land as temporary encampments for centuries before early Americans began utilizing the area in various industrial capacities.
They estimate that the earliest industrial buildings were erected on the site in the colonial era, with development likely dating back to 1774. Later, the site housed the Dyottville Glass Works, which operated from 1831 up until 1923.
Archaeologists say that the site, with its rich and long history, may be one of the most valuable archaeological resources in the entire city of Philadelphia.
Company says it will respect the history of the site
Not a problem, according to Wynn. For its part, the company has promised to be mindful of the importance of the site and is willing to follow the recommendations of archaeological experts.
In a statement, Wynn said, “If the company takes possession of the site pursuant to licensing, we will comply with the necessary permitting requirements associated with site development in order to prepare the site for construction.”
Wynn is eyeing a 60-acre piece of land on which it would build its casino; its own experts, the firm of Keating Consulting, believes only a small fraction of that area – about two and a half acres – contain artifacts.
Discovery of important items could hamper site’s development
Still, there is the question of whether this development will cause the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to re-consider Wynn’s proposal in favor of that of a competing company. It is possible that the discovery of significant artifacts could cause a delay in development or cause the project to be completely derailed.
This situation is not unique, however.
When the SugarHouse Casino, located in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood, was under construction, its site was also the subject of archaeological exploration. Since opening three years ago, SugarHouse has proven to be a popular draw, successfully luring tourists and gamblers from Atlantic City and helping to spur Pennsylvania to capture the title of the second-largest gambling market in the United States.
Wynn also looking to develop in Boston area
Fortunately for the Wynn Company, the site of a planned casino in Massachusetts is not running up against the same kinds of issues. In the Boston-area city of Everett, Wynn has proposed a $1.2 billion casino resort that is to be modeled on Wynn’s existing property in the Asian gaming mecca of Macau. That land parcel, also abutting a river, in this case the Mystic, was formerly occupied by a Monsanto Chemical plant that left only a legacy of pollution.
Wynn, whose Everett plan was overwhelmingly approved by voters in a public referendum held this past June, has vowed to clean up the site if Massachusetts gaming regulators award the company the lone Boston-area casino license up for grabs. Final decisions will be made at the end of this year.