EDIC may step in to help launch Aquasino

June 21, 2013
By Chris Stevens/The Daily Item

A lack of parking is creating waves for the Aquasino gambling boat, but the Lynn Economic Development and Industrial Corporation may have a plan to change that.

“I do think we’ve invested a lot of money into this and parking is critical to its success,” said EDIC Executive Director James Cowdell. “So what may have to happen would be for EDIC to enter into a lease.”

Aquasino owner James Walsh has been trying to negotiate a lease for a 250-space parking lot owned by National Grid and just yards away from his Marine Boulevard operation. So far he’s had no success. Walsh offered National Grid $30,000 for five years but National Grid is asking for $60,000 per year.

“There is a building on the lot,” Cowdell told his board of directors Tuesday. “Grid argues that by taking the parking lot the building is no longer useful.”

Cowdell said National Grid “got burned” by the previous casino boat, Horizon’s Edge, which has made it leery of entering into an agreement with another casino boat. After speaking to National Grid’s real estate broker, he believes the company would be willing to lease the land to EDIC and EDIC would in turn lease it to Walsh.

“We do have a long relationship with Grid,” he said. “I think they would feel more comfortable with us.”

EDIC board member Dominic Ferrari said if that is to happen, the lease with Walsh should be structured so that “EDIC doesn’t lose $1.”

“We should get paid before anyone else,” he said. “I’ve got a bad feeling that this will be another Horizon’s Edge.”

Ferrari said he would expect a venture that large would secure parking up front and not leave it for last.

Board Chairman Charles Gaeta agreed that EDIC would need to be protected in any lease agreement.

Walsh is planning to launch Aquasino Friday, June 28, but a lack of parking could put a damper on things. Cowdell said he still needed to work out the particulars with National Grid and nothing was final.

“On a positive note we get calls every single day and people just coming down to find out when it’s sailing,” he said. “There is a lot of excitement. It will be a whole different operation than Horizon’s Edge.”

Chris Stevens can be reached at cstevens@itemlive.com.



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