Greater City Providence

The Valley Breeze: PawSox looking at Apex property for new stadium

Image from Google Maps

Owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox are analyzing the Apex property on the city’s riverfront as one of several possible sites other than McCoy Stadium for a future new baseball venue.

Three sources confirmed this week that discussions about the Apex site are happening. Though the existing stadium is part of an ongoing feasibility study, they say the owners are also considering a location with more development potential around it.

I think it is a great site for a stadium and would have a better opportunity for spin-off effect on businesses in Pawtucket than the current McCoy location. However, we’ll have to see what the public funding ask is. Also, as with the Providence proposal, a big question is, what would happen to the empty McCoy?

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.


  • I’d be sort of sad to see Apex go. It’s a peculiar building that tells a story, albeit not an entirely positive one, and it seems like such a fixture of the area. That being said, a stadium seems like a worthwhile trade to me, considering the location.
    As much as I would have preferred the “b” site in Providence because it taps a much larger populace of supports for the team, this location does offer a the greater opportunity for economic boost to the surrounding area. Making downtown Pawtucket a place to go would help support street level businesses enough to make it an attractive place to build in the future.
    In regard to McCoy, I’m sure we can sort out some other uses, but ultimately, I’m not all too concerned about its existence. It consumes a massive area that could better be used for dense residential development that matches the area.
    My biggest concern ultimately is the plan for parking. I really hope this comes with a garage, and not a surface lot. A large enough garage could justify residential projects in the area that don’t have to include parking. Make parking only five bucks with the purchase of a game ticket, and I think most folks would be okay with that.
    This is an opportunity to create a showpiece destination in the heart of a city that could really use a little jumpstart. If they’re wise enough to frame their proposal in a way that doesn’t sound like a massive handout, this can be a solid win.

  • “Make parking only five bucks with the purchase of a game ticket, and I think most folks would be okay with that.”

    If the cost of your parking space – amortized construction cost, ongoing maintenance plus opportunity cost – is more than $5, who should pay and why?

  • Well, I would imagine that a parking garage of fitting size would get some use the rest of the time that there isn’t a game going, and if it spurred development of projects with reduced or no built-in parking, it could serve as an anchor for parking in the area.
    Hell, they could bypass a garage altogether, and leave it to the market to provide a solution, but I highly doubt that’ll be the case.
    I’m not stating the five dollar parking as an absolute, but since they currently have free parking, and market themselves as family-friendly entertainment, I doubt they’d risk scaring folks off with pricier parking.

  • “Some use” when there is no game means an expensive facility mostly empty most of the time.

    Right now, McCoy offers free parking only for a few early arrivals. Most parking is cheaply provided by nearby sprawling factories and warehouses. Very little ticket revenue is dedicated to “free” parking. Everyone can enjoy low ticket prices and convenient driving but there is zero “spin-off” for the city.

    When I arrive at that new ballpark by means other than driving, I will be content to pay my share of the cost of the stadium, salaries, etc. Why the hell should I have to pay for someone else’s reduced price parking?

  • Look, the “five-dollar parking” line was just an idea to toss out there, and the thing I really cared least about in this entire thread. Make it ten, whatever. The point is that I’d much rather see a garage than a lot, and however they make it work is fine with me, but though I don’t see a an abundance of near-term usage for it, I do think it’d be an asset for downtown Pawtucket.

  • 1) Great site for a baseball stadium, absolutely yes. Without question.

    2) Probably good for downtown Pawtucket, too. And yeah, downtown Pawtucket could use a win.

    3) A large parking garage would be an absolute necessity for a site like this. Adding substantially to the total price tag, I might add.

    4) How come millionaire and billionaire owners of sports franchises — especially in a case like this, in New England, where municipal budgets are tight, and where the current ownership of the PawSox tried blatantly to court other cities in an attempt to score a better deal and got shot down MOST coldly — feel absolutely entitled to demand tax credits or public financing for sports venues that produce little to no benefit to the local economy while single mothers using SNAP/EBT benefits are takers and moochers?

    5) Sorry to get all political there and shit. Oh, and not sorry, too.

  • Do not take it personally David. I am only trying to point out how widely ingrained and seldom examined is the assumption that what parking spaces cost to build and maintain need not be taken into account when deciding what drivers must pay to park.

    I happens everywhere. The cost of parking gets buried in ticket prices, taxes, groceries, meals, rent, and employer’s overhead. The result is that driving seems like the cheapest way to get around even though it is not.

  • Whatever happens to this site, there’s two things that are mandatory to avoid, that Apex pyramid relic to remain or for it to be demolished and used as parking only. Goodness gracious Pawtucket you need this stadium downtown.

  • Having a ten acre site that’s dead 250+ days a year coupled with a monstrous parking garage that’s dead 250+ days a year is about the worst possible use I can think of for downtown Pawtucket. Restore Water Street through the Apex parking lot, line it with mixed use buildings, and the PawSox get more people who will make the 3/4 mile walk to the stadium where it is now.

  • -MP775 This goes along the same lines as the providence argument where baseball stadiums across the country are used for non-baseball events such as football, hockey, high school/college sports/music events ect. So that amount of days being “dead” is significantly reduced. The stadium is also proposed to assist in the growth of further development in that section of downtown. No ones walking 3/4 of a mile to a mile to see a game anyways.

  • If they ask for any substantial state subsidy, I’m confident the coalition of left and right wing that shot the proposed Providence subsidy will reform, and for good reason, there are so many threats coming to RI from DC (loss of Federal funding towards medicaid, transit, urban redevelopment, environmental enforcement, public education….) so that any new giveaway to the rich owners of a minor league team will surely be contested no matter what anyone thinks of the site (I prefer the existing McCoy)

  • The PawSox only play 72 home games a year, so you can add 43 other events to get to 250 dead days a year. And no growth is going to come if half of downtown has to be leveled for stadium parking.

    You really think people who would choose to live 3/4 of a mile from the train station wouldn’t also walk 3/4 of a mile in the other direction to go to a game? The owner’s whole basis of wanting to be at the Alex site is allegedly proximity to the train station, so they at least want us to believe people would walk 3/4 of a mile to a game.

  • It is worth noting that there are 11 RIPTA bus lines that stop within a 3-4 minute walk of the Apex site, including the No. 1, which runs every 15 minutes for much of the day. Rather than an expensive parking struucture (at $35,000 -$40,000 per parking space). a better solution might be less parking to encourage people to use public transit, or to utilize existing parking that is a 5-10 minute walk away. I’m sure RIPTA would be willing to run additional buses on game days.

  • McCoy needs too much work, and they aren’t putting the money into a place they don’t want to be. Apex owners also have been actively marketing the property forever. This deal will get done.

    I don’t believe that there are 250 “dead days” per year. Just playing around with some numbers, and this assumes that the field dimensions support all the following.

    Pawsox 72-81 games per year.
    High School football – 5
    High School baseball – 10
    College baseball – 10
    College football – 5
    High School hockey – 10
    College hockey – 10
    Concerts – 40
    Festivals – 10

    Roughly half the year the stadium is being actively used if its used for both high school and college athletics. Such as high school “super bowls”, outdoor hockey, playoff baseball, etc.

    I don’t really understand the argument that this isn’t enough utilization. Right now its a surface lot with an empty, dilapitated ugly ass building shaped like a pyramid. This would dump 10,000 people into downtown Pawtucket 120-130 days per year, including many non-weekends.

    Not to mention its visible from 95, which sends a loud and clear message that Pawtucket exists, its fun, and its open for business.

  • Another point to consider is that the proposed Pawtucket train station has no real plans for on-site parking, at least as far as I know. If RIPTA were to run shuttle bus from Apex to the station, a five minute ride, you could probably pick up a lot of business. The biggest source of riders at the new Pawtucket station is likely to ones cannibalized from Providence station, where parking is a challenge.

  • PBN: McCoy study sees current stadium site as impediment to ‘significant return’ on investment

    To renovate and repair McCoy would cost an estimated $68.1 million, requiring restorations, alterations and enhancements to modernize the decades-old stadium and make it structurally sufficient enough to last at least another 20 years. The option would preserve the McCoy Stadium legacy, improve stadium and playing conditions and create new revenue opportunities, according to the report. The downside, according to Pendulum, is the option would generate minimal returns on public investment other than the jobs and taxes generated by the construction and enhancements.


    To raze and rebuild would cost an estimated $78.4 million, requiring about $59.1 million for hard construction costs and an additional $16.3 million for a new field, seats, lights and other baseball-related amenities. Although more expensive, the rebuild option means the useful life of the stadium would likely be longer than two decades. Creating a new design also opens the door for an opportunity to accommodate other revenue-generating activities besides baseball, according to the study.

  • 40 concerts a year! The Xfinity Center in Mansfield only had 33 concerts in 2016, and that’s without baseball games being in the way for most of the outdoor music season. I don’t think high school sports will generate much economic activity (the brand spakin’ new Max Read Field that we just paid $3.8 million for only seats 1,200), and colleges – of which there are zero in Pawtucket – already have their own facilities closer to home. And 365 minus 120 to 130 is 235 to 245, not far off from the 250 dead days I alluded to.

    As far as visibility from the highway, I don’t think anyone decided to stop and take in a minor league baseball game because they saw a stadium from the highway. Actual buildings with stores and restaurants might get more people to check the place out.

  • Xfinity Center is not in a City…. they will have more people looking to host events there than a rural event complex.

  • I think that regardless of how many “dead” nights there are at this location, it still has the effect of supporting local retail and restaurants of event nights, which will get people that otherwise would never have any reason to do so to explore downtown Pawtucket. This could help provide added stability for establishments there, which makes it a more attractive place to consider living. I do believe that downtown Providence would have been better for the team, but this location probably has more potential for run-off development.

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