PAWTUCKET – Fortuitous Partners, developer of a new soccer stadium on the city’s waterfront, is seeking a tax stabilization agreement as part of its plans to make the project viable.
Dan Kroeber, director of development for the company, wrote a letter to the City Council making the request official, and that letter is on the docket for referral to a subcommittee at a meeting tonight, Nov. 10.
“From the outset, there has been a financial partnership amongst all parties to ensure that the public and private funds invested make the most of this opportunity,” he wrote. “If not for the public investment, Tidewater Landing would simply not be feasible. In order to have the necessary revenue to support the private debt payments and debt reserve required, while continuing to develop public amenities, Fortuitous is submitting this application to request a tax stabilization agreement with the city to exempt the stadium components of the project from city real estate taxes.”
Fortuitous has been working with city staff and the administration to ensure that Tidewater Landing is “a tremendous success,” he said. While phase 1A development of the stadium is about to officially break ground, “be assured that we are actively working on the balance of phase 1, which includes beautiful new multi-family apartments, retail and commercial office space.”
He added, “We intend to ramp up activity on the additional components of the project as soon as the stadium component begins construction.”
Kroeber said Fortuitous Partners has been diligently finalizing design and permitting for the first sub-phase of the project over the past nine months, with project plans and specifications currently in the marketplace for bidding.
“Fortuitous intends to execute a final contract with Dimeo Construction, our construction manager, by the end of the year in order to begin vertical construction shortly thereafter,” Kroeber wrote. “Additionally, Fortuitous is in the final stages of closing private equity and debt financing necessary to construct the stadium.”
Pawtucket Chief of Staff Dylan Zelazo, who is currently filling in as commerce director after the retirement of Jeanne Boyle, said the tax stabilization agreement has been part of the plan since the beginning.
“Originally, we were actually going to own the stadium, so the stadium would not have been tax productive like McCoy or the proposed ballpark at Slater mill,” he said. “However, we didn’t want the ongoing maintenance obligations or to publicly finance the stadium. As part of the agreement for the private developers to own and privately finance the stadium, they were always going to need this.”
Additionally, he said, none of the city’s financial models for the overall deal, which he noted pays for itself, include the revenues that this agreement would forgo.
Zelazo said it’s all positive news on the stadium front. An access agreement to allow the Narragansett Bay Commission and Fortuitous to work on the land for the stadium and combined sewer overflow project is also on the agenda for the council meeting tonight, Nov. 10, to be referred to committee. If both get a nod, they should be on the council’s full agenda in early December.
Also at the next council meeting, an amendment to a ground lease and a master development agreement outlining “the suite of stuff they’re going to build” around the stadium will be on the docket. If, for whatever reason, Fortuitous doesn’t build the amenities promised around the stadium, there will be reverter clauses in the agreement protecting the city, said Zelazo. That said, a company that’s putting tens of millions of dollars into a stadium venue that won’t produce tens of millions of dollars of revenue on its own has no reason not to keep building.
“They need to build the other stuff or they don’t make money,” he said. With protections in place, he added, the city could in theory bring in another company to build facilities around the stadium if Fortuitous inexplicably failed to come through.