‘Game-changing’ announcement coming soon; soccer appears likely

‘Game-changing’ announcement coming soon; soccer appears likely

PAWTUCKET – A month past an original projected deadline for an announcement, officials still aren’t ready to announce the winner of the state’s bidding process for a major redevelopment in the downtown area and for McCoy Stadium.

The Breeze has learned that while baseball at McCoy is still on the table in a post-Pawtucket Red Sox era after next season, the final analysis being done is for a major development in the downtown area and that a final resolution on McCoy itself is in a bit of a holding pattern.

State and local officials wouldn’t confirm that anything has been ruled out or decided upon, but Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor did confirm to WPRI last week that officials expect a sports component to emerge from final talks.

City Director of Administration Dylan Zelazo said only that “we’re on a separate track” with a study on McCoy and establishing its true needs. Baseball options are still on the table there, he said. He said city officials are very hopeful that the “final game-changing product” being discussed now “will bring a great deal of positive development in the downtown.”

With a sports component still in play and baseball seemingly on hold, that would leave two soccer proposals as the possible finalists in this process.

Matt Sheaff, director of communications and stakeholder outreach for Commerce R.I., said state and local officials are “weeks away from having some decisions” on “one or more than one” of the proposals.

The McCoy Stadium and Pawtucket Downtown RFP Review Committee is set to meet again Wednesday morning, Oct. 30, and Sheaff said that meeting is on the agenda to comply with the state’s 48-hour posting requirement and “in case the committee needs to do more due diligence” on the proposals before it.

In addition to McCoy baseball proposals from Pawtucket Red Sox minority owner Mike Tamburro for a lower level minor league baseball team and Frank Boulton for an Atlantic League professional baseball team there, other bids submitted in the spring include:

• One by Fortuitous Partners to bring United Soccer to the downtown and a multi-sport recreational park.

• One from AJAX Advisors to bring professional soccer to a new downtown stadium and convert McCoy to light industrial use.

• One by Native Waters Investment LLC to build a family entertainment center and riverfront park in the downtown area.

• And one by the Level Exchange to create a hub centered on the music industry at McCoy.