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Attorney for former Wonderland site awaits court decision

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By Barbara Taormina


Residents throughout the city were pleased, some jubilant, that Revere High is on track to be built at the former Wonderland Dog Track site.

But few are talking about what’s coming down a parallel track, a $100 million-dollar eminent domain lawsuit from the former owners of Wonderland against the city.

“The timeline for this case is driven by the city, specifically the mayor, and the court. There are no immediate court dates, nothing significant before the summer,” said Peter Flynn, the lawyer for former Wonderland owner CBW Lending LLC.

Flynn has been watching the high-school debate unfold.

“I tried to reach out to city officials and councillors to find out what their thoughts were about Wonderland. I was looking to see if I could talk with some of them, ° said Flynn.

But phone calls and emails went unanswered.

“We have a solid and important interest in Wonderland if they aren’t going to build it,” said Flynn.

The case isn’t about the taking of the property, it’s about the property’s true value.

“The owners are entitled to the highest and best price. What the city did is give us the lowest price,” stated the attorney.

Flynn intends to show what other large parcels in the area cost. He rattles off projects and prices that exceed what Wonderland’s owners are Iine for.

“We have a quality data-based case,” he said.

According to a March 2023 Boston Globe story regarding the eminent domain sale, Flynn cites “the 50-acre former Necco candy factory site that sold for $355 million approx. four years ago, and figures the Wonderland property should be worth considerably more than the $29.5 million the city paid to his client — a partnership of the late concessionaire Joe O’Donnell and Vornado Realty Trust.”

Flynn has also stated land that can be used for residential development is assessed according to the number of units that can be built. Flynn said, because of its size, Wonderland could support 5,000 units.

Revere residents often say the track’s value is dubious because no one has come forward to develop the site. But Flynn said there’s plenty of documentation showing the owners worked with the City on possible uses of the land.

Although Flynn is ready to head to trial, he said most eminent domain cases are settled out of court.

And that seems what Flynn would like to explore.

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