December 11, 2017

PawSox, RI officials debating new $83M proposal as Worcester talks continue

Grant Welker
The former Apex site in Pawtucket is being eyed for a new PawSox stadium.

The Pawtucket Red Sox and Rhode Island officials are reviewing a new proposal for a new $83-million ballpark in Pawtucket to transfer half of the ballpark naming rights to Pawtucket, revenue expected to be at least $250,000 annually.

That's a change from the original proposal with the PawSox getting all proceeds from naming rights.

The new proposal to replace McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket comes as Worcester and Massachusetts state officials seem to be ramping up conversations about the possibility of the PawSox relocating to Worcester.

City officials say talks have focused on the vacant Wyman-Gordon site in the Canal District, and PawSox officials last month were seen at a Worcester Railers game with City Manager Ed Augustus and other officials.

"Conversations with both the PawSox and our partners in the Massachusetts state government will continue," Augustus said in a statement Monday. "We look forward to seeing where those conversations might lead."

The Massachusetts project has state support, as Gov. Charlie Baker at a Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce event earlier this month said he backs Worcester's bid to land the Red Sox's Triple A affiliate.

When the city's new arena football team Massachusetts Pirates were revealed last month, Augustus dropped a not-so-subtle hint that there may be another sports-related announcement in the not-too-distant future.

The new Rhode Island legislation, reviewed by the The Rhode Island Senate Finance Committee last Thursday, would require $12 million in equity from the team to be the first funds expended for the project.

The team is asking Pawtucket to put up $15 million and the state to put up $23 million.

If the project goes over $83 million, the team will foot those costs.

If the construction comes in at less than $83 million, savings will be distributed at a pro-rata basis to the team, city and state at rates of 46.5 percent, 32.4 percent and 21.1 percent, respectively.

The proposal requires the construction of 50,000-square-feet of ancillary real estate and a $275 penalty for each day the ballpark is open without substantial completion on the space.

The committee took no vote, but is expected to sometime next month.

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