Foxwoods sweetens deal for Milford

Foxwoods Massachusetts has sweetened its Bay State casino deal, promising the town of Milford $34 million in up-front payments and $31 million a year.

The guarantees would provide the town with "the highest economic return" of any of the competing Massachusetts casino proposals on a per-capita basis, the developer said in a statement released Sunday. The $31 million in annual payments would amount to $1,192 for each of Milford's 26,000 residents, Foxwoods said.

By comparison, Wynn Resorts' guarantee of $25 million a year for Everett, where Wynn seeks to build a resort casino, breaks down to $587 per resident, according to Foxwoods. A partnership proposing to build a resort casino at Suffolk Downs in Boston has guaranteed the city at least $32 million a year, or about $50 per resident.

Foxwoods Massachusetts, a partnership headed by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe's Foxwoods Resort Casino, is negotiating a "host community agreement" with officials in Milford, site of the $1 billion project the partnership would develop between Interstate 495 and Route 16 in the town's northeastern corner.

Milford selectmen are scheduled to review the agreement Wednesday night.

Up until late last week, Foxwoods Massachusetts' proposal called for $18 million in annual payments to the town, prompting one of Milford's three selectmen to call for a higher amount. William Buckley, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said he wanted "Everett money."

Design changes adopted by the developers in the last few days raise building heights and increase the number of proposed hotel rooms, among other things.

In addition to the host community agreement, Foxwoods Massachusetts would have to secure local voters' support for the casino project in a townwide referendum as well as a zone change that would require a two-thirds vote of elected town meeting members.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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