December 13, 2017

Worcester's downtown plan may be amended for PawSox move

Grant Welker
The vacant Wyman Gordon property near Kelley square is eyed as a possible site for a new PawSox ballpark.

The Worcester Redevelopment Authority is considering amending an urban renewal plan to include land closer to Kelley Square around the site that officials say is being eyed for a potential baseball stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox.

The Downtown Urban Revitalization Plan, approved by the City Council last year, includes 118 parcels and 380 properties on 118 acres from downtown south to Quinsigamond Avenue.

Before approving funds to hire a consultant to look into amending the plan, officials spoke nimbly of the proposal, but did not mention the PawSox specifically.

"There's also the reality that the area down there might be of interest to a ball team," said Chairman Vincent Pedone. "If that moves forward, we want to be in a position where we can act quickly."

Chief Development Office Michael Traynor at the meeting said the city is interested in expanding boundaries of the plan to include some areas closer to Kelley Square along Lamartine Street.

Currently, the plan's boundary ends at Washington Street at Lamartine Street, but already includes the vacant Wyman-Gordon site that officials say is being considered.

A proposed $83 million stadium in Pawtucket would be surrounded by up to $110 million in related development, including a hotel, apartments and retail space, according to a report by the Rhode Island Senate's committee on finance.

Few details of negotiations between Worcester and the the team have been released, but the area would undoubtedly become transformed if the ballpark was built on the Wyman-Gordon site.

Traynor, referring to ongoing discussions, said the WRA needs "to be nimble."

"If certain things move forward, we want to be able to do some amending to the plan to fit a potential project in that area," he said.

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