FR casino would replace New Harbour Mall

(Photo by Steve Nielsen, WPRI-TV)

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — After a Tweet from the mayor broke the news, the possibility of a Fall River casino is starting to take shape, with the backing of Foxwoods — and a location.

Foxwoods released a statement Thursday afternoon on behalf of CEO Scott Butera, saying David Nunes, a partner in the Foxwoods-led consortium Crossroads Massachusetts LLC, secured the option to buy 30 acres of land “which is currently in use as a commercial development, for the proposed resort.

“We love the site and Foxwoods, as developer and manager of the proposed casino and entertainment resort, is excited to move forward,” Butera said in the statement.

The city and casino owner originally announced the $750 million project before a location was selected, on Jan. 28. With Rhode Island’s gaming offerings at Twin River and Newport Grand, Butera said the Fall River casino would  include a luxury hotel, shopping mall, and restaurants alongside gambling.

Thursday, Mayor Will Flanagan confirmed to that the casino would be built at the location of the New Harbour Mall.

“If we did not take action on this site, we would have been left with a vacant mall in a few years,” he said.

The first report of land secured for the casino had come from Mayor Flanagan’s Facebook page about 8 p.m. Wednesday, saying that Foxwoods had purchased the 30 acres. “A casino will be built in Fall River creating thousands of jobs for our residents and generating millions of dollars in revenue for public safety and education. This is a reality!” the mayor’s post said.

The casino proposal still has to be approved by voters. Alfred Fernandes won’t be one of those voters because he lives in Tiverton, but he wants a say because the planned casino would open just a few blocks from his home.

“It’s gonna create a big traffic problem in the area,” he said, ” It’s good for taxes in Fall River but its not going to help us in Tiverton.”

A Crossroads Massachusetts plan was soundly rejected last November by voters in Milford, with opponents warning of traffic tie-ups and reduced property values. Supporters said a casino would bring jobs and revenue.

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