Suffolk Downs’ official filing highlights local team, resort casino, development expertise

The proposed Suffolk Downs Casino & Resort.

The proposed Suffolk Downs Casino & Resort.

Suffolk Downs on Monday submitted the first part of its gaming license application with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) to develop and operate a Caesars-branded world-class resort and casino at New England’s only thoroughbred racetrack, showcasing the team’s deep Boston roots and its resort casino expertise.

The filing, known as the RFA-1, highlights the team’s expertise in world-class resort casino developments combined with knowledge and commitment to Boston, its neighborhoods, Revere and the track’s neighboring cities and towns. The filing lists the major owners and expected management of the future resort should Suffolk Downs be granted a license, including:

  • Richard Fields, the principal owner of Suffolk Downs, horse enthusiast and resort casino developer;
  • Joe O’Donnell, a prominent Boston businessman and philanthropist;
  • Gary Loveman, the CEO of Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ: CZR), a Wellesley native and former professor at the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration, with deep experience in developing and managing successful resort casinos across the country; and,
  • Chip Tuttle, a native of Salem, the current COO of Suffolk Downs and the point person who has been meeting with local officials, neighborhood and community groups for the past several years.

In addition to the local focus in the ownership and management filing, Suffolk Downs has partnered with a team of Boston area architects, designers, engineers and construction specialists to develop its plans for a world-class resort and entertainment complex at the 78-year-old thoroughbred racing site.

“In addition to creating the greatest positive economic impact for our host and surrounding communities and the Commonwealth, our proposal has the unique advantage of preserving one of Boston’s historic sporting landmarks, ensuring the future health of the local racing industry and encouraging agribusiness, saving thousands of acres of working open space,” said Tuttle.

The following are included on the Suffolk Downs development team:

Architect of Record                            Elkus-Manfredi, Boston

General Contractor                             Suffolk Construction, Boston

Transportation                                     Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., Boston

Transportation                                     Seagull Consulting, Winthrop

Geotechnical Engineering                   Haley & Aldrich, Boston

Civil Engineering                                Nitsch Engineering, Boston

Structural Engineering                        McNamara/Salvia Inc., Boston

Environmental/Permitting                   Epsilon Associates, Maynard

Parking Design                                    Walker Parking Consultants, Boston

Surveyor                                              Meridian Associates, Inc., Beverly

Landscape Architect                           Sasaki Associates, Inc., Cambridge

Law Firm                                            DLA Piper, Boston

In addition to this design team, Suffolk Downs announced in early 2012 the hiring of former Boston Police Commissioner Paul Evans as Executive Vice President, Security and Compliance.  Evans is responsible for comprehensive public safety planning, working with federal, state and local law enforcement, security and compliance with legal and regulatory standards.

Evans has begun meeting with law enforcement officials as well as other public safety and emergency management officials in Boston, Revere and Suffolk Downs’ neighboring communities to solicit local input as the track moves through the state licensing process. He recently concluded a review of the integrity, security and compliance policies of Caesars Entertainment facilities and has begun touring gaming facilities in other jurisdictions to review best practices.

“The process of earning a license requires significant investment and substantial resources and we have worked with our partners at Caesars Entertainment to assemble a best-in-class team as we move toward a second phase of larger public review of our plans to create thousands of jobs and improve the local economy,” said Joe O’Donnell, a principal owner of Suffolk Downs and a Cambridge, MA-based entrepreneur and philanthropist.

Suffolk Downs paid its non-refundable $400,000 application fee on August 10, 2012.

“This is an economic development initiative that will set the standard for gaming development in Massachusetts and will create thousands of new jobs with real career paths and room for advancement,” said Richard Fields, a principal owner of Suffolk Downs.  ”And it is built on a foundation of collaboration and partnership — with local residents and community groups; with local businesses; and with Boston’s entertainment, tourism and convention facilities.”

Since introducing its development plans last June, Suffolk Downs has hosted several community meetings and addressed numerous local business organizations to further discuss the development and transportation plans along with the career opportunities that will be available at the resort.  In the weeks ahead, Suffolk Downs will provide updates on opportunities for local businesses, public safety programs and regional tourism initiatives.  In December, Suffolk Downs and Caesars announced a partnership with the Citi Performing Arts Center, Boston’s leading not-for-profit performing arts and cultural programming provider.

Gary Loveman, Chairman, CEO and President of Caesars Entertainment, Suffolk Downs’ gaming management partner for the development, spoke about the advantages of siting a facility in the state’s tourism capital and said he looked forward to using Caesars’ marketing expertise to grow jobs and revenues among area businesses, should Suffolk Downs be selected as a licensee.

“We are proud to join forces with Suffolk Downs to bring the Caesars brand, our management expertise, Total Rewards® loyalty program and industry leading best practices to Boston as we develop this world-class destination resort together,” Loveman said.  “With this project, we are together bringing another world-class attraction to a top tourist destination and are building upon our vision to develop and manage urban casino resorts that serve as engines for job creation and economic expansion in the surrounding communities,” he added.