Pawtucket officials will vote on 50-year lease for soccer stadium

Pawtucket officials will vote on 50-year lease for soccer stadium

UPDATE:

PAWTUCKET – A tentative agreement up for a vote by the City Council this Friday, May 29, calls for a 50-year lease agreement between the city of Pawtucket and Fortuitous Partners for a new $400 million soccer stadium development on the city's riverfront, with an option to extend it to 100 years. The lease for city properties would be $1 per year.


PAWTUCKET – Based on the significant progress made by Fortuitous and the other parties on the $400 million Tidewater Landing project, the City Council has begun the process of granting site control of the Pawtucket parcels to Fortuitous via a lease option.

At the same time, the state is in the process of granting a continuation of the company’s exclusivity agreement for the project, which is set to bring, among other amenities, a United Soccer League stadium, event center and hotel to Pawtucket’s riverfront.

All parties say they have been moving forward and meeting project milestones on Pawtucket’s biggest redevelopment project ever, despite the global pandemic.

City Council subcommittees were due to meet Tuesday, May 26, to review a proposed lease and ordinance to extend the lease beyond the current timeframe of 10 years on the books.

“It will be vetted by the committees and council to eventually vote on,” Council President David Moran told The Breeze prior to the meeting.

This was just another logical step in the process of seeing the area developed, he said, and everyone seems to be on the same page.

“The administration, council and Fortuitous Partners have been working hand in hand to make this an eventual reality,” he said.

Brett Johnson, of Fortuitous, said the company applauds the city and City Council’s commitment to making Tidewater Landing a reality.

“The state and the city are on the frontlines of fighting COVID-19, and yet their teams have continued to work expeditiously on this project,” he said. “As we knew when we began this process, planning for a $400 million project involving private, state and local partners would take a great deal of work to review and finalize. However, we can’t say enough about the commitment of the city, Commerce and all those involved at every level of government.”

All have set a high bar for ensuring that the project delivers the highest and best use for the community, said Johnson.

“Tidewater Landing is exactly what was intended with the national Opportunity Zone program – to revitalize underutilized properties and lift up communities,” he said. “This project is a game changer for Pawtucket and Rhode Island and will create a destination the community will be proud of. We look forward to working with the state and the city to finalize a development agreement.”

Fortuitous was named the preferred developer of the city on March 25. The company worked with engineers, environmental scientists and planners, such as Milone & MacBroom, to perform numerous land studies to assess environmental and infrastructure needs. It also worked with National Grid to prepare a land lease for their portion of the Tidewater site, working with National Grid on their cleanup plan for the property.

The lease option agreement will memorialize the partnership to redevelop Pawtucket’s riverfront, say the parties. From a real estate and investment perspective, site control is necessary to finalize investment agreements, as well as move forward with construction plans.

Next steps include finalizing a land lease agreement with National Grid, preparing a Tax Increment Financing project plan with the state, city and Fortuitous, the city adopting a TIF ordinance, finalizing a master development agreement, the city presenting and adopting zoning amendments, and city board approving a development plan.

“We are excited that the Fortuitous Group remains committed to this new opportunity for Pawtucket, the Blackstone Valley and Rhode Island to provide a sense of place, activity, jobs and focus throughout this development project,” said Mayor Donald Grebien in a statement. “During these different times, everyone has worked collaboratively and balanced their responsibilities. I can’t thank enough the State through CommerceRI, the Pawtucket City Council, Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency and Fortuitous for their unwavering support to ensure this development happens.”

Grebien said he continues to be appreciative of the level of work ethic, commitment, and collaboration from everyone.

“Due to their efforts, we remain ahead of schedule,” he said. “I especially thank the City Council for their leadership and focus on this critical project.”

It is clear as the city finalizes lease agreements with Fortuitous that everyone continues to stand behind the project, said Grebien.

“We continue to do our best to move forward even amid the coronavirus pandemic. This is a $400 million investment that will redevelop our waterfront and downtown for decades to come,” he said.

Through these “extraordinary times” of the pandemic, the city has endured many challenges remains committed to all of its responsibilities, including its current needs and future plans, he said. The Tidewater Landing project will be transformative, he said.

The city has selected bond underwriters and financial consultants to help with the project (Municap and Stifle), and an owner’s representative (CBRE) to manage the development and construction of the project. CBRE has hired Pare Engineering to perform land studies assessing environmental and infrastructure needs.

Comments

Just wondering how anything can be described as "ahead of schedule" when a critical piece, in this case the 'due diligence' financing period, is about to be extended for the second time?

By definition isn't that behind schedule?

Oh well, good luck.

Schedule, we don't need no stinking schedule!!

With apologies to Mel Brooks....

Is the option to renew contingent on the city, the developers, both? Riverfront property for 100 years for free would be hard to understand the upside for the city. Maybe the lease should last as long as the assumed life of buildings on it.

The country is on the brink of a recession, or worse, a depression. Why don't they put this project aside. The investors will pull out and the city will be stuck with half demolished buildings and a treeless riverfront. Just let this project die already.