We told ya yesterday morning: It's on in Eastie. Robert Kraft's decision to stop trying to build a casino across in Foxborough in the face of local elections won by opponents means the battle between pro- and anti-casino forces swings to East Boston. Everyone's in place. In one corner is Mayor Tom Menino, who wants a $1B resort-style casino at Suffolk Downs and has lined up the City Council on his side as well as other prominent supporters. In the other corner are locals intent on beating back the proposal on the grounds that Eastie already shoulders enough for the region already, what with the airport, the racetrack itself, industrial sites, hazardous materials, etc.
Plus, well, it's a casino; and no matter how beloved Hizzoner might be in Eastie, there is no getting around that. Celeste Meyers, a leader of No Eastie Casino, tells The Herald's Peter Gelzinis: "I love the mayor, I’ve campaigned for the mayor, but he needs to know that we are not going away. He has to worry about us. The Foxborough vote only furthers our commitment to go door-to-door trying to educate people about what we’re facing with a casino landing in here.”
You know, if we were X-Files paranoid, we'd say that the Foxborough decision was but the second piece in Menino's puzzle. The first? The decision on the part of Vornado Realty Trust, longtime owner of the old Filene's site in Downtown Crossing, to sell the parcel for a big, new development, something City Hall has wanted to see for years. Vornado owns a big stake in Suffolk Downs, and it was floated late last year that no Filene's site deal equaled no Suffolk Downs casino deal. Et voila! Like we said, everyone's in place (and, by the way, we called this a while ago).
· Face It Kraft, Menino Always Plays to Wynn [Herald]
· Casino Opponents Win Big in Foxborough—Now Eastie? [Curbed Boston]
· East Boston Is Getting a Casino. You Got a Problem with That? [Curbed Boston]
· Downtown Crossing's Filene's Site, East Boston Casino: Tied? [Curbed Boston]
· Filene's Site to Be Filled! Ritz Developer Behind New Tower [Curbed Boston]