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June 14, 2023

Madison begins $4.3M lease on Polar Park parking garage, buys land for Left Field Building

Photo | Timothy Doyle The City-owned parking garage off of Green Island Blvd. in Worcester is leased by Madison Properties.

Across the street from its first near-complete apartment building, Boston developer Madison Properties has begun a lease on the Polar Park parking garage that will pay the City of Worcester $4.3 million in base rent over the next 20 years.

In addition, Madison has taken control of the land where it is planning to construct the delayed Left Field Building life sciences project inside of the ballpark, which is all part of the complex land deal where Madison gave the City the property for the $160-million publicly-owned stadium in exchange for series of tax breaks and waived fees on five planned Madison developments.

As part of the deal for Madison to lease the Polar Park garage, at least 100 parking spaces in the 348-space facility must be saved for public use. The lease stipulates Madison will enter into an agreement with the Worcester Red Sox for the availability of the garage for the Triple A minor league baseball team’s home games. The parking garage was built using a $33-million state government grant from the MassWorks program.

Madison actually owned the one-acre Green Island Boulevard property the parking garage was built on, but then transferred it to the Worcester Redevelopment Authority as part of the public-private development deal around Polar Park. WRA then transferred the property to the City of Worcester. Similarly, the City of Worcester has transferred to Madison the property the Left Field Building will be built upon.

Both property deals officially were completed for nominal purchase prices of $100 on May 15, according to the Worcester District Registry of Deeds, and they are part of the previously agreed upon 2021 Land Disposition & Development Agreement between the WRA and Madison Properties.  Additionally, the City of Worcester paid Madison $586,431.50 for the costs of garage equipment, including $160,162.13 to Connecticut-based LAZ Parking for equipment and a $7,800 allowance for caulking work.

Under the lease price, Madison will pay Worcester $178,750 annually for the first five years, with additional payments in FY203 and FY2024 for previous use, according to the lease. From the sixth lease year through the 10th lease year, Madison Properties will pay $195,000 per year. Rent will increase by 2% each year after that, and total $4.3 million over the course of the 20 years.

In addition to rent, Madison will pay the City a debt service charge equal to 10% of the amount charged to monthly pass holders and a $1 fee for vehicles parking at the garage for longer than 2 hours.

The initial lease term will be for 20 years with the option to extend the initial term for three consecutive terms of 20 years, followed by one term of 19 years, meaning a total of 99 years on the lease, if all extension options are exercised.

The parking garage is across the street from Madison’s SOMA (South of Madison Apartments) housing complex. That $57-million development was originally planned to open at mid-2020 as part of a five-building development plan from Madison around Polar Park, but all of those developments have been delayed. Construction at SOMA has been steadily ongoing for the last two years and appears ready to hit its new targeted opening date of fall 2023.

Photo | Timothy Doyle
The foundation for Madison Properties' Left Field Building

The other May 15 property transfer of the land for Madison’s Left Field Building sets up that project to begin construction, although Madison President Denis Dowdle has previously told WBJ he will wait until an anchor tenant has agreed to move into the facility before building to suit. The Left Field Building was originally in 2018 pitched as a life sciences complex, although the exact use will depend upon the anchor tenant.

Madison didn’t return requests for comment for this article.

The foundation has already been laid and permits issued for that five-story office and retail building at 50 Washington St. and 10 Canal St., which is inside the Polar Park grounds. Further construction has been delayed on the property, and the project is not expected to be completed until at least 2024.

The WooSox have temporarily taken over part of the site with a deck with live music and other attractions for fans. 

Timothy Doyle contributed reporting to this story.

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Alex Macdonagh
June 15, 2023

Why not convert the Left Field Building to housing instead? There is clearly more demand for housing than lab space. Why hasn't Madison Properties been able to find an anchor tenant for 5 years?

Stephen Quist
June 15, 2023

Gotta love it when the largest transformative economic development plan in Worcester's history is headed to fruition as envisioned and the silly professor up on the hill is thoroughly discredited.
There's still time for the to fess up, acknowledge you were wrong and join the winning team.
There's plenty of seats in the dugout...

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