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Seven Firms Bid for Worcester Ballpark Design Contract

New Worcester ballpark concept

As the planning process moves forward, seven firms are vying to earn the design contract for a new Worcester, MA ballpark for the relocating Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League).

The six-acre ballpark, tentatively named Polar Park, is slated open for the 2021 season and serve as the centerpiece of an 18-acre, 650,000-square-foot mixed-use development. It is envisioned as a facility that will feature many of the amenities found in modern Triple-A ballparks–including social spaces and other unique seating options–while hosting events on a year-round basis. To find the design firm that will help bring this concept to reality, the Worcester Redevelopment Authority issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for firms to submit their proposal for the facility’s design contract.

Interviews will not begin until next week, but the list of seven firms to have submitted bids has been made public. The slate covers a fairly broad range of experienced firms, giving Worcester officials some options as they look to fill out the team that will be behind the ballpark’s development. More from the Telegram & Gazette:

Those firms that submitted proposals were: Safdie Architects; Sasaki Architects; D’Agostino-Izzo Quirk Architects Inc.; JCJ Architecture; The S/L/A/M Collaborative Inc. — Pendulum Studio; Gensler Architecture/Design Inc.; and EwingCole.

The city’s Designer Selection Board, which is made up of city staff from various departments, will interview representatives from each of the firms next week.

Three interviews will be held next Wednesday (Oct. 10) — JCJ Architecture, EwingCole and D’Agostino Izzo Quirk Architects — while the other four firms — Sasaki, Safdie, Gensler and the S/L/A/M/ Collaborative — will be interviewed the next day (Oct. 11).

The Designer Selection Board will rank the proposals.

Selecting the design firm is just one part of the process of filling out what is being billed as Worcester’s “Ballpark Delivery Team.” That will also include the selection of a project manager, and a later selection of the ballpark’s construction manager.

The funding plan calls for the ballpark’s cost to be between $86 million and $90 million, with the city of Worcester borrowing $100.8 million ($70.6 million in general obligations bonds, $30.2 in bonds backed by team rent payments) to cover construction costs and the PawSox owners paying $6 million toward construction. Rent payments are pegged at a little over a million dollars annually, for a total of $30.2 million over 30 years. Worcester officials say increased tax payments generated from the project, including additional development, will cover the difference. Naming rights for Polar Park will come from Worcester’s Polar Beverages. Construction is expected to begin next July, and wrap up in time for the 2021 season.

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