Encore Boston Harbor the Latest to Become an REIT Property

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Encore Boston Harbor is the latest gaming property to fall victim to the real estate investment trust (REIT) takeover. Wynn Resorts will sell the Massachusetts casino’s land and real property to Realty Income for $1.7 billion in cash. As is standard in REIT transactions, Wynn will continue to operate the property.

Wynn Unloads Encore Real Estate

Wynn announced that it has sold the Everett casino to San Diego-based Realty Income. Wynn is leasing back at an initial total rent of $100 million for a term of 30 years, with a second renewal option of 30 years. Rent will rise at 1.75% over the first 10 years and at 1.75% to 2.50% for the remaining term.

Wynn Resorts purchased the 33-acre site of the Monsanto Chemical Plant, where the resort was constructed, and a 1.75-acre parcel of land from the MBTA to be used as the resort’s entranceway in early 2015. The combined price was $40 million. Construction of the project then cost $1.7 billion, and the property opened its doors for the first time in 2019.

Wynn stated that it will keep its 13-acre portfolio of developable land on the east side of the property. It plans to expand the area to include covered parking and other non-gaming amenities. Wynn can also sell the land and other real estate assets to Realty Income if it chooses. The additional rent could be up to $20 million for six years after the transaction closes.

Wynn on the Hook for All Costs

Although Wynn is getting a substantial injection of funds, it will bear all the costs of upkeep and maintenance. The arrangement with the REIT is a triple-net lease, meaning that Wynn will pay all expenses, including building insurance, real estate taxes, and maintenance. These costs are not included in the rent or utilities.

The casino operator is still happy with the transaction, though, and is ready to put the payment to good use. In announcing the REIT deal, CEO Craig Billings explained that the funds will allow it to concentrate on some of its expansion plans, as well as pay off existing debt.

This is Realty Income’s first entry into gaming-related REITs, although it has extensive experience in cultivating similar relationships in other industries. An S&P 500 company, it will likely continue to seek out new gaming targets across the US.

The deal with Encore is expected to be finalized by the end of the year.

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