May 2, 2019

Worcester close to securing all ballpark land after $5.8M deal

Photo | File
The city and developer Madison Properties are close to controlling all of the land needed for Polar Park.

The Worcester Redevelopment Authority has now voted to acquire nearly all of the properties needed for the $101-million ballpark to serve as the new home of the Pawtucket Red Sox when the team moves to the Canal District in 2021.

The only remaining land needed for the project is controlled by Madison Properties, the developer building the mixed-use developments to compliment Polar Park, which will soon convey those properties to the city.

The WRA on Thursday voted to authorized an agreement with landowners to acquire five properties not previously slated for acquisition. According to the city, those five new properties are part of 2 Plymouth St., 85 Green St. and 5, 7 and 8 Gold St. Along with 90 Washington St. -- which was originally slated for acquisition -- the WRA is paying $5.8 million for both the acquisition of those properties and relocation expenses for the businesses located on those properties.

Owning the additional properties will help the city better mitigate impacts and avoid litigation, the city said in a press release.

Separately, the WRA on Thursday authorized the eminent domain takings for two properties owned by ambulance company MedStar at 69 and 62 Washington St. The city originally offered $2 million for those properties.

An agreement with property owners approved by the WRA says the acquisition of 90 Washington St. will have a detrimental effect on 85 Green St., which closely abuts those properties. Per the agreement, property owners Bafaro Realty Trust, Joseph Bafaro, Herbert Rasnick and 85 Green Street Trust -- of which both men are trustees -- essentially submit to the city's eminent domain taking.

"With the authorizations adopted today, the Worcester Redevelopment Authority continues to move the ballpark project forward in an expeditious manner," WRA Chair Vincent Pedone said in a statement. "Assemblage of the properties needed for construction of the ballpark is a critical first step."

The acquisition of 90 Washington St. will force three businesses -- Table Talk Pies' offices, Auto Body Supplies and Paint, and Windstream -- to relocate.

At 85 Green St., which is connected with 2 Plymouth St., businesses include AIDS Project Worcester and Restaurant Superstore, neither of which will have to move.

"From the start, the City has been working in partnership with us and is executing the project in a sensitive and humane way, taking into account our mission and the social services we provide," said AIDS Project Worcester's Executive Director Michelle Smith.

The city last month filed eminent domain takings for 50 Washington St., 127 Washington St. and 134 Madison St., which house AMC Demolition, Paul's Auto Glass and retailer The Sublime Co. All those businesses will have to relocate. The city originally offered $1.4 million combined for those three properties.

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