Lifescapes International

Encore Boston Harbor: How we adapted a 5-star Las Vegas spectacle for New England

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Towering over the Mystic River, just north of Boston, Massachusetts is the Encore Boston Harbor – a new, $2.6 billion 5-Star casino resort development that opened its doors to the general public in June 2019. The destination property sits on 33-acres and features a 210,000 square-foot casino, 15 dining and lounge venues, 671 guest rooms and suites, and more than 6.5 acres of indoor and outdoor event space. As our most recent project, it truly is the crown jewel of the Northeast.

This 5-star, Las Vegas-caliber resort, wasn’t without hurdles for the design team, though. Lifescapes’ vast knowledge of harsh climate conditions, study of the terrain and environment, as well as collaboration with local experts, provided the information to achieve the most sustainable design.

Sr. Project Manager, Matt Geiss, discusses some of the biggest challenges for the project and how the LSI design team worked to overcome them.

MG: A significant challenge on Encore Boston Harbor, concerning the landscape, was the existing soil and sub-grade conditions. The resort sits on a 33-acre site next to the Mystic River that housed chemical manufacturing facilities for the better part of 200 years.  In 18 months, 840,000 tons of contaminated soil and 41,000 tons of contaminated sediment were removed. Extensive accommodations had to be made in the design and install of the grading and drainage to promote a healthy soil environment suitable for plant growth. Individual tree pit drainage directly connected to the site drainage system, over excavation of the tree pits, tree root ball anchoring, and install of over 15,000 cubic yards of fresh loam were all executed to ensure a thriving landscape well into the future.

Wynn properties are known for their lavish décor and iconic interiors with an unmatched attention to detail. How did the design team incorporate that level of excellence and create an iconic interior for the resort?

MG: The lush interior garden lobby features six thousand annual flower pots and a dynamic mix of green leaf foliage intended to complement and accentuate the radiant floral garden. A Preston Bailey carousel is surrounded by 20’ multi-trunk ficus trees that were brought in from Los Angeles, which was a huge undertaking. A lot of care had to be put into the tagging and handling (acclimatization) of the trees prior to transport to Boston. One of the biggest challenges we faced was the preparation and execution of delivery during Boston’s freezing March temperatures, then installing the trees in an almost completed interior space. We are happy to report that all four survived and are thriving.

How did the local climate and seasonal weather patterns impact the design concept and execution of installation?

MG: In terms of design, the climate afforded us the opportunity to use a wider variety of deciduous flowering trees for seasonal interest; however it restricted the diversity of our evergreen palette, which is the foundation of all Wynn landscapes. With very limited broadleaf evergreen options, which typically provide contrast in form and texture, we had to rely considerably on size, and color variation between conifer species to accomplish the evergreen lushness that resonates with Wynn guests. To be sustainable, many of the trees needed to be acquired from areas of similar climate, such as the Northeast and Maryland. When procuring and installing the 1,000+ trees, and 105,000+ shrubs, great consideration had to be taken of the digging and install seasons and aligned with the aggressive construction schedule. An offsite storage nursery adjacent to the site was created to facilitate the extensive planting process, and eliminate the risks associated with a potentially long, cold New England winter.

 To learn more about Encore Boston Harbor, visit the project’s portfolio page.






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