Study: Apex ballpark would bring $130 million in benefits

Study: Apex ballpark would bring $130 million in benefits

PAWTUCKET – The city and state could see a combined $130 million in fiscal benefits over 30 years if a new stadium is built at the Apex Department Store site on Main Street and development happens around it.

The Apex site is the clear winner in a newly completed study from Brailsford & Dunlavey, or B&D Venues. The study shows projected revenues of $36.5 million to Pawtucket and $93.3 million to the state over three decades.

An alternative site at the old Tidewater gas plant down the Seekonk River would bring an estimated $95.8 million in benefits, including $71.4 million to the state and $24.4 million to the city.

All numbers in the $25,000 study, paid for jointly by the city and PawSox, are based on fiscal benefits generated by a new ballpark and ancillary development around it, states the study.

An analysis of both sites includes the riverfront property at 45 Division St. for parking and additional development.

A new 9,500-seat stadium would cost an estimated $76 million to build.

A ballpark at Apex would bring the state $37.8 million in income tax, $33.5 million in sales tax, and $22 million in transient occupancy tax, or fees for staying in hotels. The city would receive $3.6 million in new dollars from the occupancy tax, $2 million from food and beverage taxes, and $30.9 million in local property taxes.

A spokesman for the Pawtucket Red Sox wasn’t discussing the study this week.

“At this point, we respectfully decline to comment,” said Bill Wanless.

A spokesman for Mayor Donald Grebien said the study yielded surprising results.

“The numbers from our perspective were better than we expected,” said Chief of Staff Dylan Zelazo, especially considering the limited scope of the study area. Officials believe there will be a great “spillover” benefit into the rest of the downtown from a new stadium, said Zelazo, particularly with a future train station and existing brewery up the road.

“The report shows the potential for a dramatic impact on downtown Pawtucket from an investment in a stadium downtown,” said Grebien in a statement. “The numbers pretty starkly point to the Apex site being superior to Tidewater.”

According to the B&D Venues report, direct annual benefits from the ballpark itself would climb above $3 million. If the existing McCoy Stadium received just basic upgrades to get it to code, the annual fiscal benefits would be $1.3 million, according to the company’s previous report on the McCoy site. That number would climb to $1.6 million with a major renovation of McCoy, and $1.75 million with a complete replacement of the existing stadium.

The Apex site would generate significantly more money from ancillary development around the stadium, states the report, another $3.3 million annually compared to $1.4 million at Tidewater. Stores, apartments and a hotel could all be developed around the facility, it states.

State and team officials have yet to release details on what financing the PawSox will be seeking for their proposed new riverfront stadium. State leaders have indicated they expect any proposal to be a revenue-neutral one, with money returning to the state. Opponents of public financing for a new stadium point to the state’s failed investment in Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios as an example of an investment gone wrong.

PawSox officials have announced plans for a sort of park within a park at one of the two riverfront sites, with the public using the facility for other activities when baseball isn’t being played. They’ve also formed a real estate development arm for the team to promote development in the area.

The one-time economic benefits from building a new stadium would be similar whether a new stadium is built at the McCoy site or on the riverfront, according to the report.

The Breeze reported in January that a new stadium at the existing site of McCoy Stadium would cost $78 million, plus another $15-$16 million for a “development pad” and parking structure. A similar analysis by B&D Venues on that site found almost no potential for generating revenue through development around the stadium.

“Even with the construction of a new ballpark at an estimated cost of $78 million, the existing McCoy Stadium site’s limitations will remain unchanged and in all likelihood not provide opportunity to attract private investment and development,” stated that report, adding that it is “highly unlikely” that a public investment would ever generate a significant return on investment driven by ancillary development.

Grebien isn’t closing the door on the existing McCoy site, but said the latest report highlights the potential for a ballpark in the downtown. The development potential around the stadium “has tremendous potential return for both the city of Pawtucket and the state of Rhode Island,” he said.

A ballpark at Apex, near Slater Mill, “would be an impressive gateway into Rhode Island on 95 South,” said the mayor, and would complement the new Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park.

“For Pawtucket and Rhode Island, the implications are truly a win-win,” he said. “We can preserve and enhance the affordable, family-friendly entertainment asset that is the Pawtucket Red Sox, while also driving economic revitalization and investment in our downtown.”


Anyone raise your hand if you didn't predict this result. Red Sox wanted Apex all along. No shocker here, but, of course, the team is clearly driving the bus on this issue.

It does shock me, however, when the numbers are produced before they tell us the details of what is to be go there. Lol.

And now the Division Street lot is part of deal? Since when? Is it a free give away? What happened to the current deal that's in place for that land?

The mother of all shocks will come when the team finally reveals what it wants from the taxpayers. Hold on to your hats. BTW, none of these figures includes infrastructure which will be significant to say the least.

And the cherry on top is that the property looks to have environmental clean up issues. Who pays for that?

Ah, to love it.

So we are lead to believe (by the vast research done via the 25K study?) that this enterprise will bring vast sums to the city and the state. Well, if that were true, and it's not, than investors would be lining up to invest. Since they're not and since the Red Sox is looking to feed at the public trough, I give this "study" zero credence. Investors only invest when there is a likely return and since the Red Sox have come begging( when we can't even balance the budget) everyone should be very leery regarding this "study." And, it is not for public officials to "invest" our dollars in private ventures.

who in their right mind is going to spend the night in a hotel? The Pawsox are not that big a draw, get real.

This is a joke, right.

This "study" makes it sounds like there is nothing here now and that all of this money from would be a new windfall for the city.

Additional "income tax" revenue? From what? What new income that wasn't there already?

What "ancillary development" around the new site? There's no development around McCoy right now and that land is no better or worse than the site around Apex.

And what's this garbage about revenue from hotel taxes? I love the PawSox as much as anyone but the idea that people would come to Pawtucket and stay in a hotel in order to watch a AAA game is ridiculous.

Also, what about the cost of building parking for a 10,000 seat venue? What about the cost up fixing the roads and freeway access and building a new train station to mitigate the nuisance of the huge traffic? Who's going to pay for that? Let me guess... Rhode Island taxpayers...

No thanks. If the owners of the PawSox want to leave McCoy, they should have to raise every penny of the money all these things would cost from private investors and they should get exactly zero in tax-breaks. Full taxes from Day One or no deal.

I'm guessing Paw Sox players and staff as well as the visiting opponents will be the bulk of the hotel's clients throughout the year. Off season will probably be real ugly numbers wise. I'm sure these people will find something to draw people in during off season. I'm also guessing whichever hotel comes in will have to give something to win the bid. Ultimately, the PawSox and any other company associated with this endeavor is out to make as much money as possible. Where all this "tax revenue" goes to is the big question as that's the big selling point aside from being able to take in all the various money making structures that will be put up in Pawtucket. I'm not feeling very optimist about the transparency of this "project"

Has anyone googled the Dunkin Donuts field in Hartford CT?
What a mess.

In order for this field to be success for the City of Pawt. and these numbers to be somewhat accurate, the city/state/taxpayers need to include one thing in the contract with the owners of the Pawsox, their most valued possession (Not money).