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Keller @ Large: Architects Grade Boston-Area Casino Proposals

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WBZ-TV's Jon Keller Jon Keller
Jon Keller is WBZ-TV News' Political Analyst, and his "Keller A...
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BOSTON (CBS) – A building’s design can make a powerful first impression. One of the two casinos proposed for the Boston area is getting a big ‘thumbs down’ from critics.

A group of architects reviewed the plans for the Wynn Casino in Everett and the Mohegan Sun resort in Revere.

A rendering of what Wynn Everett could look like. (Credit: WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Bernice Corpuz)

A rendering of what Wynn Everett could look like. (Credit: WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Bernice Corpuz)

Design will be a factor when the Gaming Commission awards the license in about a month. The timing of the review by local architects is angering the Wynn group because of scathing remarks of their plan.

“Design and architecture are just the manifestation of our mores and values as a society,” architect John Nunnari said.

Nunnari and a panel of experts claim the Mohegan Sun design for Revere reflects a “creative” effort to build a “grand civic presence” complete with an umbrella motif acknowledging nearby Revere Beach.

Artist rendering of proposed Mohegan Sun casino in Revere. (Mohegan Sun Photo)

Artist rendering of proposed Mohegan Sun casino in Revere. (Mohegan Sun Photo)

“We very much liked that,” Nunnari said, “the play on the umbrella.”

But the high-rise Wynn plan for Everett? Nunnari’s panel called it “atrocious” and “likely to look sad and tired in just a few years.”

“It literally looks like you could have lifted it up from somewhere in Las Vegas, brought it over to Massachusetts and dropped it,” Nunnari said. “I would give [Mohegan Sun] a strong B+ and I would give the Wynn proposal, trying to debate whether a D or a D+, but probably a D.”

When Steve Wynn made his pitch to the Gaming Commission in January, he ridiculed critics of his high-rise approach as clueless about the way a casino-hotel complex works.

“We went vertically with the buildings because that was much more user-friendly,” Wynn said in January. “When something is spread out horizontally, that means you have to walk further to get to it.”

“I’m not gonna argue with a man who clearly has built and run casinos,” Nunnari said. “I would just think that there’s probably a million ways to skin a cat.”

In a statement, a Wynn spokesman tells WBZ they stand by their track record of designing popular casinos around the world without input from outside architects.

The whole argument could be rendered moot by voters in November if they approve the casino repeal question on the ballot.

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