Greater City Providence

WPRI: Sources: New PawSox owners want to move to Providence


McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket. Photo (cc) Drew Bennett.

The new owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox want to move the team to a privately-financed stadium in Providence, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation.

The stadium would be paid for by the new owners, but they would require the state to give them land at no cost, according to sources. The owners are eying the vacant former I-195 land downtown, which the state borrowed $38.4 million to buy back in 2013. The money, plus interest, is supposed to be repaid with the proceeds from selling the land.

On Twitter there was speculation of them wanting to use the West Side 195 park, I would say absolutely not to that, we were promised parks, not ballparks.

“We were briefed last night,” [Pawtucket Mayor Don] Grebien said Monday. “It knocked the wind out of us.” The new owners told Grebien they want the team to play in an “urban district with transportation,” he said.

They said ‘urban’ and ‘transportation,’ :swoon: But wait, this needs lots of vetting, don’t try to trick me!

And we have a statement from Mayor Elorza:

Mayor Jorge O. Elorza today issued the following statement regarding the new ownership of the Red Sox AAA affiliate and the prospect of moving the team to Providence:

“Maintaining local ownership of the Red Sox’ AAA affiliate is important for Rhode Island, and I commend and congratulate the new owners on their efforts to keep the team in our state,” said Mayor Elorza. “The prospect of moving the team to Providence represents a significant and exciting development opportunity for our capital city. I look forward to working with the new ownership team and all stakeholders to explore this possibility.”

And here’s is a map of the 195 parcels so we can all speculate:


View interactive map.

The parcels between Dyer and Richmond Street (22 & 25) look like they might work.

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Related: Information on the Providence River Pedestrian Bridge

Greater City Providence: The winner is Team 10, inFORM studio/Buro Happold
Greater City Providence: Providence River Pedestrian Bridge Presentation (Information about the current design of the bridge)
Flickr: inFORM studio/Buro Happold (Team 10) (Details about original bridge plan)[/alert]

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • Privately financed. Yay!
    I-195 land. Boo!
    Public transportation. Yay!

    What if we just bulldoze 6/10 and put it there?

  • I might not hate it if it could be squished close to South Street Landing. But there is a lot of National Grid business there and the inlet (which has an outflow pipe in it).

  • They want parcel 4 along the Providence River (and will probably need Parcel 42 as well) And I wouldn’t be surprised if they want the parcel that Brown just took over for their use at 200 Dyer St. It sounds like Brown has already given the thumbs up on this seeing as how there is talk of them using it for baseball. The new owners probably already have a preliminary layout for the ballpark on that site and have had conversations with Brown about it.

    If you use BB&T park in Charlotte as a model you would need a footprint of 500 feet by 800 feet for a similar ballpark. Given what Skeffington said in the Journal, I would not be surprised if their plan includes a realignment of Dyer between Eddy and Dorrance. It really is about the only way you can make that alignment fit.

    Without seeing actual plans and financing I am a little bit skeptical but if done right I would not be opposed to this.

    EDITOR’s COMMENT: Parcel 4 being the park and Parcel 42 being the developable lot adjacent to the park.

  • My biggest thoughts would be:

    1. The idea of a stadium in the center of town is kind of exciting, admittedly.

    2. Please, no parking for this. We have more than enough to fill the stadium, and should be focusing on transit connections if we build this.

    3. Giving away land for free? Sounds like a bait-and-switch in terms of “private” funding. This land expensive.

    4. Is it really appropriate for the state to play Providence against Pawtucket? If we were moving a stadium from some exurban space, I might see that as strategic. But the existing stadium is in a place that ought to be able to be served by transit and be used to build Pawtucket up, right? We’re going to be left with an empty stadium in Pawtucket if we do this.

    5. Phil Eil brought up a good point, which is that a stadium is going to be empty most of the time. Isn’t this something we’re already worried about in I-195 land? What about multiuse? Is there a way to build other uses into a stadium? Never heard of that, but it’s a thought. I guess apartments below it are not an option, probably, for noise/vibration.

  • Maybe they could build it so they could host New England Revolution Games. Wasn’t Kraft involved with this group when they were rumored to be moving to Foxboro?

  • Comments from the press on Twitter suggest they want to host high school and college sports. If they want free land I think we should demand no less.

  • No other way to read that than they want the West Side park. The vacant land bounded by Eddy, Point and 195/95, the so called ‘Victory Place’ development, is plenty big enough for a stadium.

  • I looked up some MLS stadiums and Sporting Park in Kansas City with obvious tweaks could be a respectable 18k seat Multi-use Facility. PawSox (Or ProSox), New England Revolution, Brown Baseball, Brown Football, High School events, Concerts, etc.

  • ProJo: New PawSox owners hope Rhode Islanders share ‘vision’ for ballpark

    The “target” site for the new owners is a piece of land along the Providence River just north of South Street Landing, where a private developer is renovating a vacant power generating plant into a nursing education center that will be shared by students from Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island, as well as Brown University administrators. Proximity to college students, downtown residents and urban activities is key. he said.

    Visibility from the realigned Route 95-195 interchange is a big draw, he said.

    That waterside parcel, currently, is designated as park space in the development plan drawn up by the Route 195 Redevelopment District Commission. The ballpark would also take up the lot at 200 Dyer St. where Brown University just recently moved its Professional Studies and Continuing Education programs.

    Don’t like it.

    Having an actual park where members of the public have unfettered access all year long will do much more for Providence than a private ballpark that has paid admission for targeted events occasionally.

  • Press conference happening now, but…

    Most MLS teams want a soccer-specific stadium. It would be difficult to do that and baseball together.

    I’m excited about the idea of a stadium downtown. I don’t even care that much if it takes the place of a park (though if they could work a park around the stadium, even better). I don’t have a problem with the state giving the land away for free so long as the city gets full property tax value and isn’t forced to give tax breaks to get this to happen.

    I don’t look at it as the state pitting Providence against Pawtucket. The location of McCoy kinda sucks. There’s nothing around it and I don’t think it really offers much in the way of improving transit or development there (if it hasn’t happened already, why would it happen now?). There’s no destination other than McCoy. This, however, is the state trying to keep the team in RI as opposed to losing them to somewhere in MA (Foxboro, Worcester?).

  • This is a reader submitted image of the Charlotte, NC minor league ballpark superimposed over the presumed location of the new PawSox park:

    This is BB&T park in Charlotte NC (10,300 seats) overlaying parcels 4, 42 an 14. I also took the 200 dyer st. parcel. I suppose you could shift the stadium further south or design it so you don’t need the Brown parcel or the need to alter dyer st.

    I aligned it the way it was mentioned in the journal. I left room for a river walk and access to the pedestrian bridge.

  • An extended riverwalk to Davol Square, with retail/restaurants/entertainment. Linking together the nursing school and residences to the downtown core with contiguous development. Potential watercraft features like micro-marina for kayaks/small watercraft and/or dockspace for water shuttles coming in from bay communities. A higher likelihood the streetcar actually happens. This is really exciting. This could also spark more downtown residential development, Providence really needs a large catalyst to attract more developers who see the big picture of long term appreciation. As a City, we need foot traffic, we need more density.

    I think we do need to ask for something more in return if they will get the land for free. No tax breaks, ever. They have to pay full freight. They should have to contribute to the streetcar project fund. I’d like to see $1 per ticket infrastructure usage fee, on baseball games alone that would raise over $600,000 per year. It’s in the best interest of the taxpayer to make sure that stadium is hosting events as often as possible, so shared usage amongst schools, event organizers, festivals, etc. is key. A winter use plan should also be developed… outdoor hockey games? New Year’s Eve celebrations, Winter Carnival event, things like that… I do like the suggestion that there could be some kind of apartments developed on-site, although it may take some creativity. Co-locating a hotel on the property may entice event organizers to seek out Providence more often. It will also add full-time foot traffic to the area even when college is not in session.

    I thought there was supposed to be a parking garage going in on the land bordering South Street Landing, and there has been some information released saying they intend on using a lot bordering Brown’s Continuing Education property… does this mean that the stadium will be located closer to Dorrance?

    Lastly, will this project threaten the pedestrian crossing project? At the very least, it absorbs it into the Red Sox stadium, and makes the way this group develops the immediate land right on the waterfront even more important.

  • I think we could actually shove that south, the stands would go up over the National Grid equipment next to South Street Landing. The inlet would need to be filled with the storm drain running under the park. Then we have most of our public park left.

  • The crying shame is abandoning McCoy and saying good bye to $7 tickets and $5 beers. Too good to last, I guess. Last few times I went by bicycle and was home in Providence before people were finished getting their cars out of parking lots. Didn’t see anyone else with the same idea though.

    That said, this is the first I195-Land news that I like. Provided…

    1. The riverwalk is ample and pleasant along the ballpark and the pedestrian bridge actually happens. The rest of that park was destined to stay pretty empty, despite all the fashionable people in the renderings.

    2. The land grant is absolutely the only subsidy. After that, the city makes money on this.

    3. The facility is available for high school and college sports. It is a disgrace that public money supports the Civic Center but the ice is not used for high school and amateur hockey whenever nothing else is going on in the building, which is most of the time.

    4. Something is done – parking tax or otherwise – to undo the incentive this creates to perpetuate the parking district. “Why build when you can collect money for nothing on game days” simply must not be a workable strategy for nearby landholders.

  • Brilliant!

    BUT …

    1) no surface parking,

    2) no tax breaks,

    3) full pedestrian access must be maintained in all directions,

    4) the pedestrian bridge must be accommodated,

    5) the Riverwalk must remain continuous, and

    6) the stadium HAS to programmed for maximum all-season usage. The pedestrian areas around the stadium need to be designed for the kinds of purposes that were already being envisaged for the waterfront park that was ‘sposed to be on this spot.

    Meet those conditions, and I’d call this a win all around … minus Pawtucket.

  • They’ve already talked to the City about tax stabilization.

    They’ve said the ticket and parking prices would remain the same. No word on where that parking would be or how much of it there would be or who would pay to build. Surface parking would violate Providence zoning, the State of course has a demonstrated history of ignoring Providence’s zoning when it comes to parking.

  • Aren’t there 4,000+ parking spaces at the mall and another 2,400 at the convention center, not to mention the vast wasteland or parking lots in South Providence at the hospitals, plus Downcity?

    A single carriage light rail vehicle that has over four times the capacity – 220 people (streetcar 157 people), of a standard bus – 44 people.

    A two carriage light rail vehicle can accommodate 440 people with just one driver. To move the same number of people on buses, you would need 10 buses and 10 bus drivers.

    Recently it hasn’t been that popular to support the Providence Streetcar proposal, unless the feds pick up the tab.

    Light rail would be a way to move stadium fans from where parking already exists to a new stadium location.

  • We need to make sure our parking messaging is not just about surface parking. A surface lot is just a piece of land waiting to be something–and with the parking tax, fingers crossed, a piece of land that is too expensive to be a parking lot for long.

    A garage, on the other hand, is a thirty to fifty year commitment to cars. That’s what the lifetime of such a building is. We’ve gotten really attached to chic half-improvements like having a couple active spaces at the bottom of garages. We need to demand that no more garage spaces are a part of this.

    And the mayor is on record with this as a campaign promise, so let’s hold him to it:

    No more parking!

    I think putting the land up for free would be okay with me along the lines of what others have suggested with local schools being able to use the area during off-time. That sounds like a really win-win proposal that is worth public input of funds (which is what free land is).

  • If this happens on the “park” parcel, there are some inherent financial benefits. The state would save the cost of both developing the park and then maintaining the park. If they decide to offer a deal on the land and do a tax stabilization deal, they still make out in the end since this would go from an expense generating parcel to a revenue producing parcel. The added infusion of activity and additional development is a huge bonus. The state should absolutely bargain for use of the facility for events and sporting events. I say the state/city also require a requirement for a contribution to an enhanced street car stop and related infrastructure for the line in the immediate area of the new stadium. This could help get that funded as well.

    As for McCoy – I’d be on the phone to the Revs right now. Pawtucket would be a great place for soccer and they could redevelop the entire existing area to include other infrastructure and amenities. This way both Pawtucket and the state could get something from their past investments at McCoy. If this isn’t doable, it would be amazing to have the new Providence stadium host both the Revs and the RI-Sox but I’m just not sure there is enough room at the proposed Providence location.

    Just my 2 cents…

  • …oh, forgot, the new owners should also be required to extend the riverwalk south to the inlet as well as part of tost I exchange for any “deals.”

  • …oh, forgot, the new owners should also be required to extend the riverwalk south to the inlet as well as part of their cost in exchange for any “deals.”

  • How do we make our voices heard? Seems to me like now is the time to organize!

  • If this does pan out, which I’m sure it will, is there a trade off for a park elsewhere in the I-195 district? It would be a shame to completely lose that parcel to this. There should be some sort of area in this district designated for open space.

    Also, is the garage at the Garrahy Complex a done deal? This could be helpful in area parking requirements. JWU can get in on this and open their garage on Richmond, though it’s not immediately close.

    The stadium plans should also encourage street level retail on the surrounding streets to encourage pedestrian activity outside of sporting events. Just throwing thoughts out there.

  • Let’s be honest. A garage will likely be part of this, but if the Garrahy garage is happening, that could be the one (and could be built with the expectation that it will also service the stadium once both projects are a done deal). I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing either. A garage can also be built so that it can be built up with office space above the parking decks. There’s no reason why that can’t happen.

    All that said… I think it’s a great idea. Look at what the Durham Bulls have done for downtown Durham, NC (and right across the street from the only remaining Cuban Revolution restaurant). It’s a great complex of offices, apartments, and bars/restaurants (and, yes, a parking garage that services the whole complex along with permanent parking for the residents).

    This is the most exciting project announced for the 195 land, even if it’s going to take away the waterfront park. Require as part of the project (as others have said) the continuation of the riverwalk down to Point St and also require the building of the pedestrian bridge. That would allow people to easily walk from the East Side to the stadium and, if the bridge is built like originally planned, it could be a really cool hangout pre- and post-games/events at the stadium.

  • I was skeptical when I heard this spot, but after reading these comments I could imagine a day or night game on a Waterfire night, 10,000 is nothing compared to summer waterfire crowds.
    Are we going to get kayakers going for home runs? That could promote the river.

    I thought they were building a parking garage for the nursing school adjacent to the national grid property, but this spot will be easy to get with or without a car.

    And I don’t think the Revolution are coming to Rhode Island, but maybe a minor league affiliate could work here, their current affiliate is in Rochester.

  • There are plans for a parking garage at the nursing school site. Skeffington mentioned that they would be willing to put money into that garage. They would need nights and weekends and the nursing school would need it primarily on weekdays during the day. He thinks it would be a good fit.

    I hear a lot of people talking about traffic. Clifford St now connects directly with the bridge over 95 that allows easy access to both 195 and 95 S. The Point St exit allows traffic from 195 W and 95 N. It should be pretty easy to sync up the lights after a game to get traffic out of the area.

    I am not opposed to using the park site if there will be an effort to integrate the ball park into the current riverwalk plan.

  • As for parks, the 195 commission is required to provide parks, I don’t remember the specific percentage, but it may be 8-10% of the land? There’s no park size requirement by the federal government. The commission could propose smaller parks to be distributed more evenly throughout the 195-land area.

    It’s often a knee jerk reaction by many to insist that we have to have more parks. The larger question is, does the downtown area need another large un-programmed park? Other than Waterfire events and an occasional concert most Downtown parks stand mostly empty most of the time.

    The Roger Williams National Memorial looks more like a wide highway median between North Main and Canal. Even during the day, it can be creepy at times to walk along the river in Waterplace Park. The grass park between the train station, the mall, Finance Way and Gaspee Street rarely has people in it. There’s also the State House grounds, which is a park, but may be too formal for people to want to use it. With the exception Providence Flea the twin parks on each side or the river are mostly void of people other than the occasional runner or dog walker.

    The more activated parks are Burnside, which is adjacent to the bus hub, skating rink, office buildings, and government buildings. The Court House/RISD park has students and others going to and from the courts. Often South Main Street bus riders cut across the park to Westminster Street. These parks are active and alive.

    The commission was right to designate a new lot “parcel 42” for a hotel as it would help to activate the park. The pedestrian bridge would also help, but it’s questionable whether these would be enough.

    Even though the city has new zoning with many improvements, the underlying basis for the downtown waterfront goes back to 1951 where lower buildings and lower density are to be located along the river and taller higher density buildings upland.

    The keys to successful parks is either or both density and programming. So with a large waterfront park on the west bank of the river will there be enough density and program to make it successful or do we need another big Downtown park at all?

  • Let’s try dealing with traffic by discouraging car use, not by timing lights for a speedy exit. I mean, really Rhode Islanders, have some imagination!

    One reason we really don’t want on-site parking too is that whatever pedestrian activity will be anplified if people who do drive park in an existing garage and walk past restaurants and shops. If I were a business owner I’d start getting really fierce with the mayor/city council to block any new parking that’s part of this. Take it from me: the Phillies and Eagles have a subway that’s very well used except for to the games, because parking is all over. And traffic is endless, so you can’t even stay the whole game if you drive and want to get home that night. People are skipping out the door during the 7th inning stretch like an Irish Catholic family post-Communion… That area of S. Philly is one of the few places in the city that’s super dead because of on-site parking.

    So remember, transit is great, but even high quality transit sucks if accompanied by too much parking.

  • The park’s actual location is part of the legislation that created the 195 Commission, to change it means amending that legislation.

    I’m really uncomfortable with the Assembly, seemingly the Mayor and the Council, and maybe Gina (she hasn’t made a really strong statement that I’ve seen) are all so keen all of a sudden to just wipe away a public amenity that has had years of planning, and is written into state law, just because baseball. I don’t want to be that guy, but remember the last time we all got a boner for baseball?

    There has to be amazingly strong public amenities at this ballpark to get me to get too excited about it, and we’ve seen exactly zero plans yet, aside from “we’d like to have some free land, don’t worry, it’ll be a game changer for Providence.”

  • Three comments:

    1- Parcels 4 and 42 would be much better served with a stadium than another park!!!
    A stadium would provide a venue for baseball (140 days), the Waterfire dance stage, concerts, fireworks, and a potential site for the New England Revolution. Much better “bang for the buck” than football (10).

    2- A stadium would add density to the area and greatly increase the urban ambiance around the ped bridge and would not require any additional parking. Just look at what they have at the current site. This area already exceeds the parking capacity they have now.

    3- A stadium would add potential fuel for the realization of the PVD streetcar system and add PR points for businesses interested in other parcels.

    Think big!

    P.S. -Our small cousin in Hartford is irrelevant and not in PVDs class. Remember the Patriot discussions (Kraft never wanted to move there).

  • At a news conference, Skeffington was very adamant to call it a ballpark rather than a stadium. Maybe they’ll argue the law that creates a ‘park’ could also be used for a ‘ballpark’. Ha. He emphasized community use, which was nice. He also emphasized how convenient the bus terminal and garage at the garrahy complex would be.

    While I was looking forward to a park park, it sounds like this will be a better utilization. There’s still the east side park, and India point park is such a short walk away. There were no plans at the old park for rest rooms, right? Well now it looks like they’ll have ’em.

    And the fact it’s going where the park was means it’s not taking away from the land that’s supposed to create middle class jobs. It’s starting to sound a like a decent idea (not that I’m completely on board). But as long as the periphery stays a park, and it’s used for more than baseball, it could be great.

    Steve, Kraft never wanted to move here either. Same with the revolution. However, the stadium would make it easier for someone to bring a division II team to RI.

  • Reserving my right to skepticism until concrete plans and designs materialize!

    But with that said, I don’t view this as the loss of a park at all. I was never a fan of the original park proposal. I could only envision it as a destitute, poorly kept place that people hurried through (if at all) only on their way someplace else. In other words, I never imagined much if any activation. Give me a ballpark on the Fenway/Wrigley model over that any day of the week. You don’t have to like baseball to enjoy the ambience on Yawkey Way when the Red Sox are playing! Now put that downtown and on the waterfront, this could be something special.

    If done right.

    Very much like the idea of putting a small tax on each ticket sold to help pay for the streetcar. If the city/state can negotiate that, along with my other provisos, that’s a no-brainer.

  • Density and convenience is Providence’s best friend.. and even if only 500 attendees head into downcity Providence after an event at this ballpark venue for food, drinks, or more entertainment.. it is probably more than would have headed into the city after a game in Pawtucket.

  • I just remembered that about six months ago (or whenever, I can’t really recall) the 195 Commission flatly rejected a large hotel proposal for Parcel 42 that appeared to be very ‘ready to go.’

  • I know that most of the people on this site think, CAR…BAAAAADDD. But lets remember the bulk of the fans that come to see the PawSox now come from the suburbs and come by car. There is no amount of public transit that will encourage many of them to leave said car at home. If parking is not provided they will not come. If they can’t get into and out of the city conveniently they will not come. Many of them already see Providence in a mistakenly negative light.l. So lets provide some parking and traffic control for many of the existing fans and try to make their visit a pleasant experience. Maybe some of them will choose to come in a little early or stay a little later because of this.

    The focus on public transportation to and from the new stadium should be about bringing in new fans. People that could never conveniently get to Pawtucket. People who are already using public transit (either by choice or necessity). This is the untapped potential for a downtown ballpark.

  • Sucks that we wouldn’t get that recreational waterfront park, but this is ABSOLUTELY the type of vision and development Providence so desperately needs. We’ll have CityWalk and we still have amazing parks like India Point and WaterPlace that are under-utilized and severely under-maintained.

    The fact they are even considering moving to the capital city (where it should be), helps to increase our profile on so many levels. The economic impact alone would be amazing for Providence and greatly for the rest of Rhode Island.

    Quite frankly, I would much rather have this (assuming there would be some public access surrounding the ball-park including obviously access to the pedestrian bridge) than another underfunded and neglected city park.

    Wasn’t it this same blog and contributors who griped over the expansion of more open parks within the city? If built correctly, a new ball park in Providence could add greatly to urban-density by housing retail frontage along Dyer Street (cafes, ticketing, concessions, info-center, a hall-of-fame, etc) and would also be within blocks of the newly proposed transit-hub at the Garrahy Judicial Complex. Think Fenway or Yankee Stadium.

    It would also bring with it programs, possibly concerts, etc. as well as a nice anchor structure for when WaterFire is going on. Perhaps even some Olympic offerings if Boston gets the world bid for 2024… !

    To the auto-centrised here, move along. When you go to a game at Fenway, do you drive to Boston? No, you take the T. Whether as a park or ball-park, if Providence is serious about becoming a true urban city, we need to start thinking like it and lose the “where are duh people gonna pahk” mentality. Move closer and WALK! Its time for Providence to grow up!

    It takes approx. 30 years or so to cultivate a culture who can truly understand, appreciate and utilize these types of urban-centric standards of living. The world is changing, get used to it!

    Perhaps I’m repeating some of the ideas from above, I’m just too excited for something like this in Providence. Again, stop griping and build otherwise nothing gets done with all the NIMBYism!


  • “If they can’t get into and out of the city conveniently they will not come.”

    Almost any location in downtown Providence will be more convenient by definition than the current location of McCoy (which requires a drive through a warren of confusing one-ways, perpetual construction and a residential neighborhood).

    I think what most people here are saying about parking is that there is already more than enough capacity (especially if you can include the existing garages in the neighborhood — JWU and Alpert — plus the planned garages — Garrahy and the new nursing school). We shouldn’t be adding parking, but increasing public transit options and making it easier for out of town fans (the ones for whom it is more necessary to drive) to get from the garages to the stadium. E.g., a downtown BRT loop that is free on game days.

  • Brendan, I had the same thought about the Parcel 42 hotel proposal being nixed with knowledge that this was coming down the pipeline. Don’t much like that possibility …

    Dan, people here are against more parking because there are already acres — literally, acres! — of parking within a five-minute walk of this site. That’s both surface parking and structured parking, with more parking structures already scheduled to be built. Enough is enough.

  • It’s important to frame the conversation around parking around the fact that there is a LOT (no pun intended) all over the place. Take a look at the reports on the existing garages, which are rarely full.

    Berkeley just reported recently on successful parking reform that pleased drivers. Higher costs for on-street parking pushed longterm parking into garages (which were previously underutilized) and allowed access for short-term parkers right in front of their destinations.

    Combined with bike access, increased transit, and infill, there should be plenty of reasons to arrive without a car. But for those that do, there’s already plenty enough options without adding more.

  • One thing that I haven’t heard anyone talk about is the increase in season ticket sales and corporate suite boxes (I know this was touched upon in one comment during the press conference). I have a feeling that countless more businesses will purchase season tickets for their employees since it is now all about a night out on the town, rather than a car ride to McCoy to see a AAA game. There is potential to “lock up” a large amount of ticket sales in advance to reliable corporate accounts, rather than weather-dependent single ticket sales made at the window.

    Farm league feeder programs for major league baseball are kind of recession proof in the respect that they likely won’t be shut down entirely during an economic slump. There is probably data that shows that minor league baseball feels it less than major league baseball ($7 ticket versus $50 ticket), so that is a competitive advantage and big “perk” to the long time viability of this commitment. We don’t have to worry about a big corporate resident getting bought out and moved or some tax inversion plan taking them out of the country. The universities would also be a competitive advantage for the City if they actually paid taxes. Something that should be addressed sooner rather than later, and in conjunction with a fee per ticket sold to pay for transportation infrastructure not related to cars or buses. Per student, per semester fees could just become a part of tuition and would easily be absorbed without any negative effects. Is a college student going to not apply to a school that requires a $250 per semester city services fee? Not when the school only accepts 5-20% of those who apply.

    Hopefully, developers will see this commitment to making downtown more of a beacon rather than a blight as a signal that the environment is changing. There will naturally be more demand for downtown housing now that there are 70 days of baseball during the warmer weather months, along with countless concerts and other events. There will also be more demand for hotel rooms. All of these things mean more foot traffic in the downtown core and that is a wonderful thing. The multiplier effect has the potential to be huge.

    I would like to hear a commitment from the new i195 commission, the DID, and the mayor’s office, that confirms their interest in making downtown more of a liveable community. The effort needs to be concerted, and we need to hear actual numbers… like they are targeting downtown resident population to increase by X percent per year for 5, 10 years. If the timeline for this ballpark is 2018, and the rest of the projects already announced will be done by 2017, the mayor’s administration should be trying to coordinate all the projects so the community opens “turnkey” simultaneously and tourism marketing dollars can be spent promoting a massive public/private project to redefine Providence as a destination.

  • This Journal article outlines a lot of what still needs to be be figured out to make this happen, including land ownership, federal mandates and state laws, engineering, talking to land owners, etc. This PBN article says the PawSox owners hope to have it all figured out by April.

    My fear is the Assembly and others are going to be so damned excited to put their names on this that they’ll rush to make whatever demands the owners have happen. Then some time next year we’ll find out some engineering challenge or some private land acquistion is way more expensive then imagined, and the owners will come back to the state for more money. Or, they’ll go, ‘oops, this is just not going to work you guys, we’ve been talking to Massachusetts and they have a place for us, thanks, bye.’ And then we are left with an empty lot, no park, and a lot of money spent on nothing. Am I the only who cannot only imagine but kind of expects the Assembly to fuck this up?

  • I feel like anything less than an out of state corporation building a 50 story HQ downtown with a top floor revolving restaurant will just be bashed with sarcasm and passive aggressiveness.

  • If this goes down (hopefully with all the features we’d like), I’d really like to see the money that was allocated for this park go to creating the full version of the planned pedestrian bridge. A bar or cafe on that bridge would suddenly be considerably more viable with a ballpark right next to it.

  • From what I’ve heard in the past (and granted this is hearsay only), Jim Skeffington is something of a local parking lot baron, and has made a lot of his money in that industry in addition to legal work. Just something to bear in mind.

  • This is a good time to reflect on a long sad history of promises that were made to grease the way to big public or subsidized projects but never kept. Perhaps the list can be a permanent feature of this very site! Here are some reminders…

    1. Burying the power lines. Way back when moving I-195 was the topic of meetings and “community input,” removal of the giant towers and wires in India Point Park was a big deal sweetener. Still waiting.

    2. The Downtown Movie Theater. When the Mall deal was getting hammered out, I think I remember Mayor Cianci made an excellent demand that the movie theater not go in the mall, but be stand-alone downcity. They shut that noise down by promising both! Suckers!

    3. The Linear Park bridge over the Seekonk River. I would not bet this ever gets finished.

    There must be more.

  • David R,

    Funny you should mention the bridge cafe that got value-engineered out of existence. Envisioning this proposal, one of my thoughts was not exactly that the cafe should now be reincorporated into the ped bridge, becauseIs never much a fan of that concept. But rather, I did think that the stadium should be built to accommodate external retail sites, facing the river and functional year-round, to serve essentially the same function as the bridge cafe.

  • The New York Times piece puts into perspective what’s being lost for Pawtucket, as well as offers a glimpse of what will irrevocably change for fans.

    Not including the ground floor, 9-stories of a 10-story garage building on the Garrahy site would only fit around 650 cars. Structured parking spaces cost about $30,000 each to build.

    When the two additional bus hubs are constructed, a significant number of people could access the ballpark by most of RIPTA’s bus routes and be only be a minute walk to the stadium from the Garrahy hub. That could add up to thousands of people.

    If 4.8 acres of the 195-land gets used up for a ballpark, and the parkland has to be relocated within the district, would the district be as viable for creating new economic activity? If there’s only 19-acres to be developed, the two current residential proposals would use about 4-acres, along with park relocation that would leave around 10-acres for development.

    As it was mentioned baseball would bring a lot games to the city and benefit local businesses, which would be great. But, restaurants and bars don’t provide the high wages that the city and state so desperately needs.

    It would no doubt be a blunder to allow the team to leave the state. This incredible opportunity is fraught with hard choices.

  • I’lI be honest, I’ve never agreed with the argument that proposals that “create” high wage jobs are always better than proposals that create lower wage jobs. An attraction like this is more than the sum of its parts. Creating a destination like this in the heart of the city doesn’t only add the jobs needed to operate it, but also boosts the wages of workers in the already existing service industry nearby.
    This is the sort of project that adds to the desirability of the area. It gives one more reason for people to want to live nearby or work nearby. It adds demand for hotel rooms to accommodate visiting players. It lures families in from surrounding neighborhoods, whom would otherwise never think to go to Pawtucket because it’s not worth traveling to catch a game in a place that has nothing else to offer you once you’re there. It would also give visitors to the city one more fun thing to talk about having done when they discuss their trip to friends back home. It also gives touring acts one more option when considering venues to perform in, especially considering that an outdoor venue that accommodates 10k+ people is an amenity that Providence does not currently offer. These are the intangibles that boost a city far more than an anonymous office building with 100+ high wage jobs.
    Providence has plenty of underutilized lots throughout it’s core outside of the 195 land, and the argument has always been made that this land is to serve as a catalyst for spurring development outside its zone. A ballpark like this adds considerable inertia to the push for development momentum.

  • At the end of the day, what the city and state “need” is for people to desire being here. This helps accomplish that.

  • Sam – I completely agree there is already too much surface parking downtown. With the South St Landing Garage and if the proposed Garrahy garage goes up there should be more than enough parking to accommodate game attendance. Add in the existing surface lots along Richmond and at 1 Davol and there should be no need for more parking. I also think that there should be provisions (if not in place already) that none of the I-195 land be allowed to function as a surface parking lot to stop it from being used “temporarily” for stadium parking.

    I am just saying that Providence is a destination and many of those people will arrive by car. Some people seem to forget that.

    From what I read in the Journal they want the park site and the Brown University site to the north. About 7 acres. If anyone wants to see the type of park that would most likely end up downtown take a look at BB&T park in Charlotte. (Jef posted a pic of the park overlaid on the site in an earlier comment). It sits on about 8 acres. It has luxury suites and a range of seating prices from 10 – 50 dollars. Its has a berm like Pawtucket and they use existing parking areas surrounding the stadium. There is light rail stop 4 blocks from the park so it is transit friendly. If that’s what is proposed for Providence and there are not a ton of taxpayer subsidies then I am all in.

  • My biggest reservation continues to be the General Assembly. I can see in my mind a stadium at this location with surroundings that embrace public activity, a well integrated pedestrian bridge over the river, ample sidewalks to funnel fans from garages, RIPTA, and the streetcar, new restaurants lining Eddy Street, with high-end (read high-tax generating) apartments and condos above… I can see it all, I fear the Assembly just sees dollar signs but they have no idea how to make the best dollar signs for Providence. “Temporary” surface parking on the 195 land is exactly the type of thing the Assembly would think is vital for this project.

    If the City can take the lead on design review and negotiations on what this stadium needs to give back, my reservations temper a bit.

    I responded to someone on Twitter that the State needs to see Providence as more than the 195 land. The 195 land has never been much more than a good story to tell about Providence. We moved a highway and created all this land and exposed our riverfront, that’s a good can-do story about Providence. After outside developers are hooked with that story, we have an entire City to show off and develop. This ball park does not exist within a vacuum of the 195 land, it needs to be well integrated into the rest of the City and it needs to benefit the rest of the City.

    I feel pretty confident about the leadership of Councilman Aponte (he’s been saying the right things), Mayor Elorza, and I think the Planning Department is being re-inviggorated under this new administration. I have faith in them all doing this right, the State scares me.

    I agree with David too about the wage issue. We’re a service economy right now like it or not, and boosting that economy boosts the general economy. Also, the development we’re looking for is not just labs in the middle of nowhere. To attract this young 21st century mid and high-wage workforce we’re looking for we need not just jobs for them, but also housing, and entertainment. Jack Templin infamously said we need to create a City where people can get made, paid, and laid. The nightlife and recreation options are an equal piece of the puzzle and the 195 land is a fine place to foster the ‘laid’ part of that economic equation.

  • David, agreed.

    Honestly, I’m just browsing casually around the International and Pacific Coast Leagues, a couple of the AAA leagues. NOBODY that I can see has this amenity of a downtown, urban, waterfront stadium for minor-league baseball.

    Most of the fields I’ve looked at are not downtown, a few are. Correspondingly, most of the fields aren’t especially urban, and most are surrounded (or at least abutted) by surface parking. A lot are located in industrial areas. I see one sited right on the waterfront, Norfolk, but it’s cut off from the rest of downtown by a highway. A lot are somewhere near water or somewhere near a downtown, but never both.

    Now, that’s a very small sampling. There are many different leagues and probably a few hundred teams, including the independent leagues. I can’t check them all. But it seems fairly safe to assume that the infrastructure also declines the lower down the minor league levels you go. A quick Google search for “largest minor league baseball parks” will lead you to a Wiki page that backs that assumption. The higher the level, the bigger the draw, the better the infrastructure.

    Point being, this proposal could verily easily become THE coolest minor league baseball stadium in America, hands down, no question. And honestly, it would be a lot cooler than the vast majority of major league stadiums as well. And if that’s not an amenity worth sacrificing some open space for, I’m not sure what is. Refer to Peter Brassard’s post above about all the underutilized (and slightly depressing) open space around downtown …

    Caveat. This would still need to be done with sensitivity to the city’s pedestrian (and legal) requirements, not to mention budget. The exterior of this facility essentially has to BECOME the public park space that this proposal replaces. But you have to acknowledge the potential here, which is incredible.

    And that’s just the ballpark. Having the Red Sox and “Paw”Sox name brands behind the proposal is a whole different element. If this were a proposal for a new team, that would be one thing. But Rhode Island already has a longstanding love affair with the Red Sox and the “Paw”Sox. Combine those names, bring the team to Providence, and house them in the best minor league facility in America … oy.

    Well, let’s not get carried away, but you see where I’m going with this. As I said before, let’s see plans and details.

  • Currently, this whole proposal (aside from amending some laws regarding the park land) would fall under the purview of the 195 Commission, which seems to now be an arm of the Executive Office.

  • Dan, of course you’re right.

    Actually, not going to lie, the last time I went with my aging and somewhat unhealthy father to a PawSox game, he had to stop 3 times to rest between my car and the stadium. Not only do I think there will be enough parking nearby that this proposal wouldn’t need any of its own, but I also believe that most of that parking would be no further than the current surface parking options in PawSox fans have in Pawtucket. And nobody can argue that, whether by car or by transit, this part of Providence is MUCH easier to get to than McCoy.

  • Sam, great post, I share alot of those opinions in regards to what the RI Red Sox could mean to the International League and minor league baseball as a whole. This organization has been to the last 3 championships, and won 2 of those. Ultimately, they deserve to play in the league/country’s most desirable minor league ballpark.

    As a City, we’ve waited our turn, and now it’s time to share in the Boston metro area’s prosperous economic upturn. Providence’s revitalization has mostly been an “indie recovery”. Poorly capitalized entrepreneurs bootstrapping their passions into businesses. Culturally, it’s been great because it’s been grassroots and has involved people passionate about their city, but now its time to target and deploy serious capital to get us to the next level. Projects like the riverfront ballpark, streetcar, Knowledge District, etc. have the potential to provide the catalyst that will finally “black start” the city by attracting mid to large sized companies back downtown. Downtown commerce and a downtown community where people work AND live is integral to Providence’s future and can’t be overlooked or pushed to the side in favor of the sexy entertainment district projects that every city loves to dream about.

    We can commit to these large tourism/entertainment/hospitality projects but these should be the start of the plan, not the end. We need permanent, year-round, non-subsidized, tax paying residents living downtown; that should be the end-all goal any time that we are being asked to give away something for free as a city. How can we be embracing a 10,000 seat venue downtown but we aren’t embracing the need to have 10,000 full-time residents in our downtown core? The “chew and screw”, strong city / stronger suburbs mode of thought, does not promote a healthy city or state. We don’t want a city that is only busy on event nights, we want a city that has the lights on all the time.

    I’m hopeful that the new administrations will use this as an opportunity to piggyback on this development news and commit to helping develop a major residential high-rise of some type in the downtown core. The 10 year increase in downtown population has been a trickle and not nearly enough to entice a business to re-locate here. We need a major population increaser project. Even, dare I say, a commitment to redevelop the Superman Building that includes apartments in a mixed-use format. If they can’t find commercial real estate tenants, then commit to express trains to Boston and try to poach professionals that will live in RI but work in MA, and weight the project towards residential. Boston rents are absolutely out of control, I saw one report that showed they are 80% higher than the national median rent. There are people that would travel 45 minutes to be part of a vibrant urban community rather than live in Mattapan.

    While these headline projects are great, we can’t lose sight of the ancillary projects that need to follow in order to really build something special, or the budget problems that we have that need to be fixed so that we can stop the bleeding. There are things that can be done to “help us help ourselves”, such as mandating all new State jobs are Providence-based. Providing a tax break to companies that embrace the MBTA as the primary form of transportation for their employees (to increase ridership and eventually increase frequency of trains), and countless other cost centers that can become profit centers such as college use fees, small city fees on ticket sales, higher on-street parking meter costs, increased court fees for habitual offenders, etc. All of these things can be done while searching out government waste and supporting projects that will increase the tax base.

  • Wow, a lot of discussion but I’m really disappointed about the acceptance of giving away valuable land for free for a minor league team that is already in the state. I am outraged by that concept. Even major league stadiums suck as a development tool, this another 38 Studios disaster in the msking. Of course they will be empty most of the time, surrounding by parking, and anything promised about transit will quickly be forgetten, that is just to build support for another giveaway of public property. If ballparks promote development, why hasn’t McCoy worked? If they want “transpportation” why not an express RIPTA bus from Providence to Mccoy using I-95? The whole thing is to rob the taxpayers.

  • KCB – Good points, indeed.

    The one point of contention I have is any name like “RI Red Sox”. It is demeaning to Providence. Surely, you would not want to call the team in Boston the “MA Red Sox”.
    Providence (New England’s second largest city and metro) is of the stature to have the naming power for a pro team…like the Providence Bruins and Providence Sky Chiefs. Frankly, it exceeds that of “RI”.

    We can “share in the Boston metro area’s prosperous economic upturn”. But we need to stop playing the role of part of the Boston metro. It is a Combined Metro that includes the Providence Metro. Remember, the Providence Metro is the region’s second largest at 1.6M. That is fuel enough to build on.

    Fully agree that “its time to target and deploy serious capital to get us to the next level. Projects like the riverfront ballpark, streetcar, Knowledge District, etc. have the potential to provide the catalyst that can attract mid to large sized companies back downtown.” The challenge is money – city, state, and federal budgets are in stress.

    Your “chew and screw” comments are right on target and a largely suburban mindset that must be broken. This is a major challenge that requires a strong PVD based mentality at RIAC, RIDOT, RIPTA, RI Economic Development, and the PCVB (drop that ridiculous “Warwick” in the name).

    Again, I agree that there are people that would travel 45 minutes to be part of a vibrant urban community rather than live in Mattapan. I travel and spend weeks in over 30 cities a year and I have concluded that Providence is a great city…better than Boston.

    Heartily agree that mandating all new State jobs are Providence-based, providing a tax break to companies that embrace the MBTA – and RIPTA – as the primary form of transportation for their employees.

  • Hi Peter,

    Those are good facts, except for one statement. There is no need to move the “park”. Providence already has a bounty of urban parks that sit empty and provide no taxable income or tax generating activity.

    This is, after all, Providence – not Portsmouth.

    The greatest quality of Providence is its dense urban nature – we need to build on it.
    Even taller, denser, tighter, alive than it is today.

  • Barry – Your attitude is that of too many Rhode Islanders and that is unfortunate. The land is going to be used as a public park. It has no monetary value. There is intrinsic value as a park but it will probably be as vacant as the ball park “might be”. it certainly won’t draw people into the city like the ball park would.

    And comparing this to 38 Studios is just wrong. What we know today. The new owners plan to use their own money to build the stadium. They have a team ready to move in. They want to use the stadium for more than the games played by the Red Sox; concerts, Brown baseball, etc. They are asking for very limited public funding; the land, lease back option, tax stabilization. There is no parking associated with the stadium, it will not be surrounded by parking as McCoy is. I love McCoy but its past its prime. There will probably not be an International League All Star game for some time, or a Triple A National Playoff game. I can see these coming to Providence within 5 years after the stadium is built. I feel bad for Pawtucket but they missed the window of opportunity to develop the land around the stadium and thought “they will never leave” so we have plenty of time.

    I prefer to be optimistic about this and will wait to see how this plays out before I make up my mind. Too many people in this state are pessimistic about the future. I truly believe this pessimism adds to why businesses don’t want to come here. There is no energy or enthusiasm and we don’t make outsiders feel welcome when we start out by asking “How are you going to screw us over?”

    I do agree that using a stadium as a development tool is a bad idea. I don’t think this ball park will be the sole catalyst or deciding factor as to a business building in the I-195 district. Too many stadiums are mistakenly being completely financed with public money with the hope of development springing up around it. I am waiting to see just what the new owners will be asking for from the taxpayers. I would be right behind you if we were on the hook for a lot of money. But today. This looks good. And I am going to enjoy being a little bit optimistic about the future.

  • Steve,

    Yes, I agree except for that the Federal Government requires a percentage of the 195-land to be a park as part of the highway relocation project.

    The waterfront parks as planned in the 195-land master plan were to fulfill that requirement.

    If a “ballpark” can’t be defined as a “park,” since federal funds were used for the project, then the State would have no other option but to relocate the park (or the area taken up by the facility) within the 195-district, no mater how much it doesn’t make sense in an urban context.

  • Dan – Your comments are on target.

    70 home baseball games bringing 10,000 people into that area of the city (700,000/year), and the potential for soccer, concerts, fireworks, a venue for the Waterfire Dance Stage, etc. is far better than another open park with 15 people strolling around.

    Again, this is Providence, not Portsmouth.

    My point – we have a great northeastern city (one of the nation’s best) and a center for sports, history, education, culinary arts, performing arts, architecture, and urban lifestyle in southeastern New England – lets keep growing that.

  • Excellent point. I am aware of that.

    But my contention is that the ball park can be developed to meet that requirement with sufficient curtilage of the structure being park-like (grass, trees, benches, bike path, walkway to the river walk and pedestrian bridge, etc.) and – silly as it sounds – the naming of the park. Perhaps “Providence Riverfront Park”.

    This is where the assistance of the Governor and our congressional delegation can be of great value with the federal folks to overcome that hurtle.

    Having dealt with the federal folks for many years, I see it as realistic. One point of example, the US DOJ somehow seeing the Google forfeiture share for the North Providence Police being approved to be used for pension recovery instead of specific law enforcement asset acquisition (police cars, etc.) as the regulations state…what a stretch!

    Amazing what can be done with political influence. That is my hope.

  • If the renderings for this ballpark development don’t show some connection to the actual river besides the extended RiverWalk, i’m going to be really disappointed. The inner river (if that’s what we can call the area due north of the Hurricane Barrier) should have more watercraft traffic other than the occasional kayak, gondola, or water taxi heading in and out of the Hot Club.

    It would be so great to see the renderings have a kayak/canoe outfitter rental and storage company, slips for small watercraft, and a water shuttle landing. Out of the box thinking can make Providence baseball even more unique than any other location could provide. I am talking water taxi links to Pawtucket, East Providence, Pawtuxet Village, East Greenwich, etc. via the bay and Seekonk River. I think people would enjoy leaving their car in a bay community marina parking lot and traveling via boat right to the ballpark dock, having dinner in the city and then traveling home by the boat. The river is a logistical asset, and it needs to be used practically as well as for recreation.

    In the future, canal boats could bring people up the river to Waterplace (needs a bit of dredging first), or maybe even out to Harris Ave to the gateway to Olneyville. Providence could indeed be a canal city three seasons out of the year. At the very least, embracing our marine history is a good angle for tourism, and should totally be considered as an asset for increasing tourism revenue.

  • I agree. The park should be as open to the city as it can. Space is tight but i would be nice if they could work some kind of retail space into the right field wall that opens on to the river walk…Good place for the kayak rental or that coffee shop that got deleted from the bridge. Also would like to see retail along the Dyer St side…Sports store for selling RISox and BoSox swag etc. I think it would be really cool to have the coffee shop accessible from the river walk with a patio that overlooks the field. Open to the public when the team is away but used as SRO for ticket holders when the team is in town.

  • Peter,

    Steve and I are making the same point about the exterior of the ballpark functioning as public space to satisfy the park requirement tired to the federal money that went into the highway relocation project. A little out-of-the-box thinking here …

    And if that’s not enough, then go ahead and do it anyway, and what’s to stop the city from creating temporary park space elsewhere in the district and redeveloping it in five ten fifteen years from now as the area starts to build out?!

  • Well, unlike most other marketable regions of developable land (capital center), this won’t take long to build out. In regards to the cafe-ish aspect of the bridge, I understand that moving funds from one thing to the other is harder than it initially sounds, but I earnestly believe that this project changes the dynamic of the bridge, which makes a cafe (but more so a bar/bistro) definitely viable at least for eight months of the year. Keep in mind that Hot Club and Whiskey Republic are sort of out if the way, and although this location has lower capacity, a slight premium on product would be understandable considering the location and vista to compensate for “off” months.

  • I updated the orginal post with links about the pedestrian bridge.

    I don’t think we’re going to see any changes to the pedestrian bridge at this point. Much time and money has been spent on finalizing the design and my understanding is work is to begin this spring. The current plan can be seen here.

    The original design did have a place holder for a riverside building which wasn’t fully developed. They were calling it an “interpretive center” I seem to remember, sort of a mini-museum space with information and displays about the history of the river. It was outside the scope of the RFP but something the designers felt could be added to the bridge at a later time. I could see this structure being resurrected with food and drink programing within it. Something could sit on the edge of the water with decks hanging over the river.

  • The ProJo article talks about studying parking within two-blocks of the stadium. Because no one would ever allow themselves to walk more than two-blocks.

  • Three things I keep hearing….

    1. Giving away free land. The land was going to be a public park. It was never going to be sold so giving it over for use by the Sox means there is no financial loss. In fact depending how the deal is structured the property may actually end up back on the property tax roll and generate tangible and sales tax.

    2. It will not generate the high tech jobs that the I-195 land is supposed to bring. See Number 1. The land was not going to be developed. Therefore it would not be generating any jobs, high tech or other. The ball park will actually create jobs for Providence. Yes. Pawtucket loses them but there may be more opportunities for additional job creation at and around the new ball park once it’s built.

    3. Parking. Jef is right. This is just sensationalism. Using the journal article there are already 2/3 of the spaces needed to accommodate a sell out crowd. The PawSox average attendance over the last decade has been between 7 and 8 thousand per game. Using the ULI calculation that translates into 2300 to 2600 parking spaces. Very close to the number of spaces the Garrahy study says we have now. Spaces that from experience are mostly empty on the nights and weekends when they will be needed.

    It also does not include the new garage construction at South St Landing or the Garrahy complex. It doesn’t count the spaces that would be available on the other side of the river if the pedestrian bridge is built along with the new ball park. Spaces within the 1/4 mile radius that is generally used by most planners when looking at how far people are willing to walk. A quarter mile radius, that when dropped over McCoy Stadium shows some of its parking areas outside that boundary and definitely more than 2 blocks away.

    I have no problems with concern over the amount of taxpayer dollars that will ultimately be required to build and support a ballpark (I have them too) but some of the negatives in the “con” column just aren’t there.

  • If McCoy had so much free parking to offer, then how come all the surrounding industrial owners (including Hasbro) were selling parking spaces in their lots? Just saying …

  • I would rather park a 10 or 15 minute walk away from my destination than park right right under it in a garage that takes 10 minutes to drive into and another 10 to drive out of. Bonus if the walk takes me past nice things. The Economic Development magic – the hope game goers patronize other businesses in Providence – will not amount to much unless more out of town visitors can see things this way.

  • Nicely done, Dan.

    I attend pro baseball games across the country, and a FOUR block range for parking is routine for major sporting events…a big red herring.

    Of course, they leave out any mass transit option/vision (bus/trolley).

  • A few things:

    I’ve said before on other forums – I think a really great thing would be if these guys could also work with the city on building a parking garage that would serve the stadium and the Garrahy Courthouse (and I suppose PPAC, etc.) Replacing the surface lots there with a garage might help with co-development opportunities. Given that many of the garages (and certainly lots) are empty after 6 PM it seems like this should be able to work.

    Turning public space into restricted space is 100% “giving away free land.” Why people are arguing the point is ridiculous. But, it seems like there is a nice way to integrate the public space concept with the park. I don’t know how much people travel, but think something like the way PNC Park in Pittsburgh integrates with the public space around the river. There is no quite as much room here for that, but there doesn’t need to be the same scale. Integrate some public space (which Sox maintain!) with the stadium, it doesn’t seem to be a huge ask. As well, whatever they propose should integrate with the pedestrian bridge.

    In an interview today, trolleys to/from the train station were mentioned. Instead of this, I think the city should contribute/could use anyway a traffic study on optimizing pedestrian and auto traffic on Memorial Drive. Honestly I think the best thing would be to get rid of all the one way street business but that’s hard. I’m not huge on the idea of trolleys carting people back and forth from the train station, although if it gets these guys to put money in RIPTA’s pocket that is fine with me.

    On the radio today Skellington said that their site plan is for RF to be a short porch with HR going into the river.

    The big thing about this project is that there is a very large spectrum of outcomes. I think done right this could be an excellent addition. But, I think there is a valid worry that this ends up being a boring little stadium in a sea of parking with Providence footing the bill for a bunch of infrastructure changes. Hopefully Ryan isn’t bringing in his old CVS real estate gurus or we will end up with a hokey replica stadium design with no street interaction and a lot of dryvit and a ton of surface parking.

  • “Turning public space into restricted space is 100% “giving away free land.” Why people are arguing the point is ridiculous. But, it seems like there is a nice way to integrate the public space concept with the park. I don’t know how much people travel, but think something like the way PNC Park in Pittsburgh integrates with the public space around the river. There is no quite as much room here for that, but there doesn’t need to be the same scale. Integrate some public space (which Sox maintain!) with the stadium, it doesn’t seem to be a huge ask. As well, whatever they propose should integrate with the pedestrian bridge. ”

    This is the point I made to Peter regarding the integration of the stadium and the park.

  • Sam, the reason for that is the same reason people pay $40 to park in Premier parking at or for the private just outside the Xfinity Center when there’s plenty of free parking available… quick exit. McCoy is surrounded by parking, but there are only 3 exits. With the lots and garages in downtown Providence, you’ve already got far more than 3 ways out and a variety of options for getting to 95, 195, 146, 10, 6, etc.

    Brick, I think a trolley to/from the train station is a silly idea, but a downtown loop would be a great idea, especially if it’s free. I’d like to see something like this be free all the time, not just game nights… kinda like the College St bus in Burlington, which is pretty much to cart UVM students downtown, but anyone can take it. And looking at a satellite view of PNC Park, I don’t see any reason why this stadium can’t be integrated in such a way with a riverwalk linear park through there, and if we can get the team to maintain that section (I don’t see why they wouldn’t), even better. It just might prevent the balls from landing in the river, which brings me to…

    The biggest concern I have about the orientation of this whole thing is the environmental aspect of home run balls landing in the river. Is it safe for the river and whatever animals live in it? I assume they’ll end up in the bay at some point?

  • Jef — Congratulations on holding a terrific public forum on this key topic about the future of Providence. Some great ideas, lots of serious thinking, and of course a fair amount of cock eyed optimism. All in all a valuable discussion that should keep going.

    I’m 100% against the thing for various reasons. Traffic on game nights. Eyesore building on a site that everyone says is where Providence just “opened up the river front”. Dead building most of the time — team there only half the season, on road other half. Occasional events other times.

    Worse: land grab by owners, who as usual, claim they are “going to build stadium with own money.” Why not use their public spirited cash to buy Victory plating, surround themselves with parking lots and leave the river park and pedestrian bridge to front eventual new development and complement downtown Providence?
    And I realize that GCPVD ardently supports mass transit and foot bike traffic. But the suburbanites are coming by car to poor lost McCoy and the Knowledge Sttadium ( will people please stop using the lame Knowledge District imisnomer?!)

  • Eyesore?

    There’s this thing called Google street view. Use it to check out some of the newer stadium facilities being built in MiLB these days, especially urban ones like the Toledo Mud Hens, Indianapolis Indians, and Durham Bulls occupy. Then get back to me with your “eyesore” complaint!

    Traffic on game nights? Traffic, really? Wow, imagine a downtown that a lot of people want to go to. Yeah, of choose there’s going to be traffic. And honestly, that’s no change from the situation in McCoy, which is terribly located from both a traffic and transit perspective. Getting in was tricky, getting out was frustrating. Providence is much better served than Pawtucket by bus and by car: the state’s highway and transit networks center on Providence, not Pawtucket. It would be no worse (and probably much better) to get to this location than it is to get to McCoy. Next objection.

  • Traffic.

    I’m reminded of the old Yogi-ism: “No on goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.”

    Traffic. Hey, you know what else would be great on a summer evening if it weren’t in Providence with all that traffic? Waterfire. Yeah I propose we relocate it to Coventry. People would love it then!

  • I think it was back from the Urban Planet days, but I remember someone saying that when there’s a lot of traffic in a city, it means that people want to be there.

    I’m not too worried about traffic for the same reasons as Sam. Even though people will still want to drive, there are far more routes out than there are at McCoy.

    As for the “eyesore” that’s empty most of the time… how about the Dunk? That sits empty a large portion of the time when the Friars and Bruins aren’t playing. Yes, there are events there in the spring and summer, but beyond that, it sits mostly empty. And there’s no reason the building has to be completely empty all winter. Look at the Bleacher Bar at Fenway. We could have something like that. It’d be really nice if it was on the river side (and would fill the purpose of the cafe/bar that isn’t going in the bridge).

  • Traffic is a complex thing.

    I don’t know if I love the Urban Land Institute’s “traffic is good” perspective 100%. We shouldn’t aim towards high-speed, empty streets, and yeah, it is true that a place that is popular will pull more people to it than a place that is unpopular. But we shouldn’t aim to have our streets jammed with cars. The way the streets get during Waterfire is a problem. It’s not the worst problem in the world to have, but it’s a problem still. That’s why we need to focus on stabilizing and then eventually reducing parking capacity in downtown, why we need more protected bike lanes even if it means losing some parking lanes or travel lanes, and why the streetcar needs to have rights-of-way in as many places as humanly possible to allow it to skate past cars if there’s ever a jam.

    Detroit or Cleveland may have streets empty of cars (for the wrong reasons) but the streets of Groningen are “the quietest I’ve ever heard” according to Clarence Eckerson, Jr., and that place is thriving better than Providence. It’s all about building the right capacities to bring people without bringing so many vehicles.

  • “Why not use their public spirited cash to buy Victory plating, surround themselves with parking lots”

    Because that would be horrible, that’s why. That would bring virtually ALL of the problems McCoy has down into Providence with virtually NONE of the benefits this proposal could offer (if done right, which I won’t stop repeating).

    And I won’t argue that the Knowledge District appellation isn’t lame, because I agree. It’s antiseptic, lifeless, forgettable, and crappy at best. Jewelry District was far better. But “Knowledge District” will hardly be a misnomer in a year or two with Brown, J&W, and RIC all expanding into that territory as we speak.

    Sorry for the sarcasm earlier. I think it was the snide comment about “cock eyed optimism” that set me off, but maybe it was the slew of naïve suggestions and criticisms that followed it.

  • Useless. The whole piece is full of fallacies and inaccuracies. Let us count the ways!

    First paragraph:

    “State leaders may be contemplating whether to give the new PawSox owners one parcel of former Route 195 land — 5 acres of prime real estate where development potential is widely seen as one of the state’s best opportunities for jump-starting its economy.”

    Misleading, because even with the limited information we have so far, it appears the land in question is largely either a) going to become a public park or b) owned by Brown. We’re not giving away the developable land.

    Fourth paragraph:

    “The commission is charged with selling the land at fair market value to generate economic activity.”

    Again, not THIS particular land. Or at any rate, not very much of it. Not the entire 5 acres cited in the first paragraph.

    Sixth paragraph:

    “The commission’s sale of the land to private developers was the principal way the state expected to raise money to pay back what it borrowed.”

    Same problem as the fourth paragraph. NOT this land, or very little of it.

    Seventh paragraph:

    “But if the land doesn’t get sold, the legislation that created the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission says payback might also come from the state’s general fund.”

    Now all the misdirection comes to a point. There’s a word for this. Sensationalism.

    Not until we get to the second page of the web article does the journalist admit any of the points I’ve made so far:

    “The parcel the PawSox owners want for a stadium that would be the team’s new home as early as 2017 is separate from the developable lots and, technically, holds no anticipated financial value for the commission because it is designated as park land.”

    Shouldn’t that have been mentioned just a little sooner? Well right, if we bury this tidbit halfway down an article, a lot of people won’t read that far. Is it cynical of me to suspect that sort of behavior? Maybe so. But would this article be the first news piece that could ever be called propagandistic? I don’t think so.

    “But if the park were not to be built there, the I-195 Commission is mandated to create another park in the project area.”

    Finally we come to a legitimate point! But rather than doing any REAL reporting — to wit, seeking out commentary from ANY of our civic leaders on their plan for dealing with this dilemma or the expert advice of lawyers or engineers familiar with the federal requirements in question who might know of workarounds or quid pro quos that might satisfy all parties — this writer just changes the topic and leaves the question hanging ominously. This is, in fact, the real issue at hand. Why write all of the rest of the article only to get to this far and then leave the major question unanswered and practically unaddressed? I’m not slinging stones, but I find it hard to believe that the omission is unintentional.

    Now enough of that crap. Laws can be changed, agreements can be negotiated. There are always alternatives. Perhaps the Journal doesn’t want the good people of RI to think there are, but there are always alternatives. Rather than throwing up our hands in faux despair and walking away from the issue, how about we research real answers to the real problem?!

  • I think relocating the park is not as big an issue as it seems. Once they figure out how much of the existing site can be retained as park (ie. the land between the stadium and the river) additional land within the I-195 corridor might be used to fill in the remainder. Start with parcel 1A on the other side of the river (do we really need a helipad) and go from there. It just seems like people are trying to come up with ways to kill this (Sen. James Sheehan being one) before we even look at what a proposal might entail.

    As far as what a park might look like Graham Knight ( has been to most of the ones we are comparing it to and posted photos. Urban ball parks don’t have to be eyesores and surrounded by acres of parking.




  • Incredible that anyone would think giving away public parkland to insider private developers is not giving away land! Would you think it is not a giveaway to give away Roger Williams Park or the Grand Canyon to some rich developers?

    Those in favor of a giveaway should at least advocate we announce it to everyone and see what else the market comes up with in response to free land. It might be better than giving it away to developers to move a private business from one part of RI to another part of RI. By the way, these developers include Terry Murray who sold us out on Fleet Bank, and Tom Ryan of CVS which has been so successful in extorting tax breaks and even a limited access highway (Route 99 to their coporate park) just to please them. As usual, the crony capitalists are trading on their insider connections, but long-term, what good has that kind of thing done the state.

    I think the Projo parking article had it right, all about parking, no mention of transit, free loops, ferries, riverwalk, bikes. Suburbanites want to park free and close. Not that so many care about minor league baseball. If the Pawsox cared about transit, they would have arranged express bus service to McCoy (as there is to Twin River)

    Those in favor of the giveaway should also advocate real public hearings before any decision is made, perhaps that will be a chance to advocate transit, free loops, ferries, riverwalks. bikes. Otherwise, might as forget it.

  • I don’t think it’s too much to ask for a few facts or all a couple of the obvious questions.

    What are the stipulations of the federal deal? Exactly how much of the total 195 land has to remain open space? Can that figure be changed or redefined?

    If not, how much of the 195 land, minus this proposal, is still slated to become open space as things currently stand?

    How much acreage, then, are we short? How can we cut into that deficit, if there is a deficit, with creative engineering or legal solutions?

    Sorry, but I have little patience for rabble-rousing. If your purpose is to inform, start with information …

  • KCB – It probably doesn’t have to be an actual physical park. It is most likely space set aside for public use and there are probably guidelines as to what that can be. I am not sure if it can go as far as 4th Street Live but there are probably allowances for some private enterprise to use the public land. Could sections of a ball park be designated for public use (like a picnic area)? I don’t really know. Hopefully they will look into that.

  • ProJo: Report: Worcester city council to discuss making move for PawSox

    The Worcester City Council will discuss a possible pitch to lure the Pawtucket Red Sox out of Rhode Island, according to a story on The discussion is on the agenda for the council’s Tuesday night meeting, at the request of Councilors Gary Rosen and Philip P. Palmieri.

    This could be a GAME-CHANGER for Providence, or Worcester… New Haven, you want in on this? Someone just give us free land, no strings attached.

  • New Haven used to have a minor league team. They played at Yale Field, which is pretty small and lacking in the amenities of a modern baseball (even minor league) stadium. It’s a nice stadium, but more reminiscent of an ivy league stadium (go figure) rather than a modern ball park. The capacity is only 6200. They could, however, build a nice stadium where the coliseum used to be downtown, which is currently a very large parking lot.

  • I can’t say I’m surprised that another city is planning on making a move on this, I’m actually surprised it has only been one so far. We have everything working in our favor except the opposition, but that opposition could very well be enough to wreck this for us. I’m not blind to the fact that there is a range of possible outcomes regarding how this project moves forward, and what form it takes, but there are some people that are just not having it, regardless of how you describe the benefits. I really hope this doesn’t get ruined by the opposition.

  • Stadium advocates cite the economic impact of Charlotte’s new ballpark as a reason to build one in Providence, but I wonder how much of Charlotte’s economic growth can actually be attributed to their investment in transportation – including the expansion of their new streetcar system.

  • ProJo: Federal land plan may present roadblock to PawSox ballpark proposal

    That 4.8-acre plot of land along the Providence River is designated for use as a public park in a plan the Federal Highway Administration approved in 1997, said Doug Hecox, a highway administration spokesman.

    It’s premature for the FHWA to comment on the use of that land as anything other than a public park, Hecox said, as the agency has received no formal proposal regarding that change in designation.

    It’s theoretically “possible” that the agency would agree to a land swap of some sort, Hecox said. But without a specific proposal to review, any comment would be “speculative,” he added.

    ProJo: Nominee for director of Route 195 commission noncommittal on PawSox stadium idea

    “We would all agree we would like to keep the team in Rhode Island, if not in Pawtucket then Providence, but we really need to see the physical and economic impact studies and due diligence that the ownership is doing,” Azrack said. “I am not at a point where I can have an opinion pro or con about the possibility of the Pawsox playing on part of the 195 land. You can look at other parts of the country … where a baseball park can be a complementary use, but you have to evaluate based on the merits of the site and locale.”

  • Giannini: Can a “Rhode Island Red Sox Stadium” Succeed in Providence?

    I envision a first class stadium with plenty of free parking, concession stands with food and memorabilia from the best of Rhode Island…

    My pitch for the stadium would also be to include a surrounding premium outlet mall with stores similar to Wrentham premium outlets. We do not have any outlet stores in Rhode Island such as Wrentham, Massachusetts and Clinton, CT. Let’s keep our Rhode Islanders, who go to the outlet stores in neighboring states, shopping in Rhode Island. Go to the Wrentham outlets any weekend and see the many Rhode Island cars that are there.

    I’d also like to see food establishments moderately priced and geared toward families in the surrounding area with family entertainment similar to the eateries in Disney World… Perhaps places like Johnny Rockets, Chili’s, Crazy Burger, etc.

    There you have it from someone who was recently in the GA. Disney world, malls, and “plenty of free parking.”

  • I edited your comment a bit to make it clear that you were quoting someone else, because I wasn’t clear where the quote and your comments ended when I read through it the first time.

    And yes, a Chili’s downtown would be a game-changer. :rolling-eyes:

  • RI mall will be outlets.. No need to have something similar 10 minutes north. The ballpark should just be a ballpark with a smart parking solution, hire RISD students to help with design or park, hire JWU students to help with food options at and surrounding park.

Providence, RI
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