With the East Boston casino vote set for Tuesday, we sat down with NAI Hunneman Executive Vice President Trey Agnew who has been closely following the casino developments and what they could mean for commercial real estate.
A casino would mean that values will go up for certain properties and development will occur faster than it might otherwise have. If a license is ultimately issued, it will accelerate the value and the construction of many different kinds of projects, notably the hotels that support the casinos.
Which communities will see the biggest real estate impact?
Chelsea, Revere, East Boston, Malden – they share services, they share ideas, values, and they work together. Those four cities are already working cooperatively right now, which is one of the reasons the area is experiencing a surge in development, regardless of a casino. So while East Boston may be the beneficiary of an expanded tax revenue due to construction, hotels, and other improvements, workers for the casino will end up living in the surrounding communities, too. Those cities are all working together as a cooperative unit, which helps everyone.
What will be the immediate impact if the East Boston approves the casino plan on Tuesday?
The biggest thing it will do is accelerate development. East Boston and its surrounding communities are already experiencing renewed development interest and that will continue regardless of the casino vote. However, if the vote does go through on Tuesday, it would be as if someone was stepping on the gas pedal. Some of the housing developments people are talking about may be pushed forward very quickly, which could create around 4,000 new jobs. There are several hotels that are going to start construction very soon and a “yes” vote would likely speed that up. Timing is a major variable in real estate.