PawSox creating real estate division
PawSox creating real estate division
PAWTUCKET – The Pawtucket Red Sox have announced the creation of a new real estate development arm to work with local leaders on exploring potential sites in Pawtucket “for a catalytic sports and entertainment district.”
The entity, called “Prospect Development Group: A Real Estate Development Arm of the PawSox,” will exist separate from the PawSox organization. It will be formed by team executives in response to and in support of Mayor Donald Grebien’s “Pawtucket’s 20/20” vision announced two weeks ago.
It will also respond to suggestions made by local business leaders and elected officials who are eager to see private investment in the city, including creation of a new ballpark spur that will boost development for Pawtucket and Rhode Island as a whole.
“Across minor league baseball, the most successful ballparks have proven to be catalytic game-changers for cities, states, and regions,” said PawSox Executive Vice President and General Manager Dan Rea, who will serve as executive director of Prospect Development Group.
“The recently completed McCoy Study placed a key emphasis on surrounding development, making it clear that any new public-private partnership among the PawSox, the city of Pawtucket, and the state of Rhode Island works best if it benefits the area and its developmental potential.”
Asked whether the new entity will just be advocating for development from private investors, or if the group could actually buy up properties itself, PawSox spokesman Bill Wanless said everything’s on the table.
“I think it’s fair to say we wouldn’t rule out anything at this stage,” he said.
The team’s announcement comes as state lawmakers are considering how far they’ll go in investing in a new stadium for the PawSox. Part of that debate centers on what kind of economic impact the state can expect from building a new ballpark up the road from the existing McCoy Stadium.
The news of a development arm follows up last week’s announcement that the team and city commissioned a study by Brailsford & Dunlavey on the financial impact of a potential new stadium on Pawtucket’s downtown.
Target locations for a new ballpark are the Apex Department Store site at 100 Main St., the preferred destination, and the Tidewater plant site across the Seekonk River from Festival Pier.
The $25,000 cost of the new study will likely be split evenly between the city and the team, according to city officials.
According to PawSox Vice Chairman Mike Tamburro, who will help lead Prospect Development Group, the motivation for creating the new entity is “as simple as us wanting to invest in the town that’s been our home for 40 years.”
“Recently we’ve seen teams like the Durham Bulls and the Toledo Mud Hens take particularly active roles in development efforts surrounding their successful ballparks, and as we search for a sustainable long-term home for the PawSox in Pawtucket, we want to explore those teams’ models, doing our part to try and ensure that both the ballpark and its surrounding area are year-round, vibrant assets for this region,” he said.
Tamburro added that the team has “heard the mayor’s vision loud and clear, and we’re eager to help advance his goals” for a vibrant development district.
In a statement, Grebien said the new development arm “only strengthens” the commitment the PawSox have already made to Pawtucket as a long-term home.
“They’ve seen the value of all that Pawtucket has to offer and I am excited that they are committed to investing in our great city’s future,” said Grebien.
“We continue to move forward as a city, to bring further development to the downtown, to reinvest in our infrastructure and quality of life.”
Pawtucket is at a “tipping point,” said Grebien, and now is the city’s time “to seize on key investments like the coming commuter rail station to spur further growth. We hope that Prospect Development Group draws further interest and investment to Pawtucket.”
Prospect Development Group’s leadership team will be comprised of several PawSox senior executives.
The group will also explore opportunities with Peregrine Group, an East Providence-based real estate advisory firm with extensive dealings across Rhode Island and New England, as well as nationally-recognized commercial real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle, which has deep experience working with some of the country’s most successful sports and entertainment districts.
Rea told The Breeze for a story last week that the PawSox see potential for parking facilities at the Peregrine Group’s riverfront property at 45 Division St. That property is located just a few feet from the Apex site.
A study released in January showed that a new stadium and parking facility to replace McCoy Stadium at its existing site on Columbus Avenue would cost some $90 million.
The Breeze reported before the release of that study that the team was in negotiations for the Apex property. The study found limited potential for economic development with a new stadium at the existing site, but much more potential if the stadium is located on the riverfront in the downtown.