After entering executive session to negotiate the terms of the agreement, Selectmen voted 5-0 in favor of approving a host community agreement with Penn National Gaming for the proposed slots parlor in Tewksbury.
With the agreement, Penn agreed to invest $200 million into building the facility at 300 Ames Pond Drive.
Penn will be required to make payments of approximately $4 million annually including:
- $3 million in estimated property taxes
- $1 million in mitigation payments (this will increase by 2.5 percent beginning in the fourth year of the agreement)
- $120,000 contributions to fund Tewksbury's capital expenditures
The agreement also requires Penn to use "significant local union labor" in the construction phases of the project, although there will be opportunities for non-union workers as well, according to Town Manager Richard Montuori.
The project is expected to create 1,000 construction jobs as well as 500 permanent jobs once the facility is open.
Under the agreement, Penn is required to commission a traffic impact study, infrastructure capacity assessment and fund the infrastructure improvements identified in each study.
These improvements could include some to roads and sewers.
Penn will also be required to reimburse the Town of Tewksbury for any costs related to consultants or temporary staff hired during the process.
While the host community agreement was approved Thursday night, Tewksbury residents will have the final say on whether or not to bring a slots parlor to town.
A Special Town Meeting will be held in late August in order to seek the zoning changes needed to build the facility, and a special election in early September for the final vote to approve the slots parlor.
If Tewksbury residents were to approve the slots parlor in the referendum vote, the town will still be competing against other proposed sites including Leominster, Millbury, Raynham and Plainfield.
Per the agreement, Penn will also be required to pay for any costs related to the Special Town Meeting or election.
Penn National will also be required to donate annually to local non-profits.
According to a release from Penn National, the company donated more than $12.7 million in 2012 to non-profits in jurisdictions where it operates.
Montuori said he had been working on the agreement for the past week, and recommended Selectmen vote in favor of approving it.
"This is significant revenue to this community," Montuori said. " It's significant revenue one establishment could bring to this community."
Selectman Chair Scott Wilson said he envisions the slots parlor would serve to stimulate commerce in other areas of Tewksbury, including along Route 38.
"It would be a great start to stimulate other businesses in other parts of town," Wilson said.
Selectman Todd Johnson asked Montuori if Penn National would be afforded any special provisions related to taxes.
Montuori said they would be treated like any other business coming to town, noting they would also be required to pay the same licenses and fees as well as sewer and water rates.
Wilson said the next steps in the process will be putting the agreement online as well as setting up public hearings so residents can ask questions and voice concerns as the process moves forward.