City officials and just about everyone else in Philadelphia were shocked last month by the announcement from Wynn Resorts Chairman Stephen Wynn that he is abandoning his bid to take over the troubled Foxwoods Philadelphia project on the city’s riverfront.
The news came in a two-paragraph business-wire press release from Wynn Resorts that its newly formed subsidiary Development Associates, LLC had “terminated all agreements and negotiations with respect to a potential investment in the Foxwoods Casino project in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.”
Wynn’s statement in the release shed little light on the reason he is abandoning the project. “We are fascinated by the legalization of full gaming in Pennsylvania and stimulated by the opportunity that it presents for Wynn Resorts, but this particular project did not, in the end, present an opportunity that was appropriate for our company,” he said.
Only three days earlier, Wynn and his main architect had met-at Wynn’s request-with Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter to discuss the project. Nutter later said it was a productive meeting, and after the announcement, said he was “stunned” at Wynn’s departure.
Just a week before the cancellation, Wynn’s Philadelphia venture had seemed full-speed ahead. He had delivered complete plans for the project, including color renderings, to the state Gaming Control Board three weeks early for a casino he said would be “Wynn top to bottom.”
Some experts said his cancellation of the project had something to do with Atlantic City.
Soon after leaving Philadelphia, Wynn visited the Atlantic City Hilton, the casino-hotel he built in the 1980s as the Golden Nugget. According to one Hilton employee, there was an idea being floated of Wynn re-acquiring the property and transforming the hotel into an all-suite facility.
Another report had Wynn looking over the Revel project at the other end of the Boardwalk, which had days earlier been announced as for sale by Morgan Stanley. The Wall Street giant, which was reportedly close to securing the final piece of financing to complete the mega-resort’s interiors, indicated it was willing to take a loss in selling the property. It is possible that Wynn could pick up a new property for a bargain.
But all that speculation was put to rest when Wynn Resorts announced it had no interest in acquiring any property in Atlantic City.