The Worcester Redevelopment Authority has not finalized its acquisition of the Polar Park site from a developer, but that is not slowing the project down.
Currently slated to open in time for the 2021 season, Polar Park is being built for the soon-to-relocate Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League). The parcels that will constitute the ballpark site are currently under the control of developer Madison Properties, which is set to complete private redevelopment of nearby land into mixed-use amenities.
As part of an agreement with the city, Madison Properties will convey ownership of the ballpark property to the WRA in exchange for a series of tax-relief incentives. Ground was broken on the ballpark in July and work is underway at the site, with the WRA receiving the right to access and work on the property even though the land transfer has technically not been finalized. City officials say that the agreement is still moving forward as planned, with certain details having to be ironed out before it is completed. More from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette:
The incentives will provide Madison Properties with property tax savings totaling $5.6 million over the life of the three deals. At the same time, the city will be collecting $20.3 million in additional taxes on those properties that it otherwise would not have collected if they remained in their current vacant state.
Additionally, the agreement calls for Madison to receive $2.5 million in state investment tax credits through the Housing Development Incentive Program, and a waiver of the first $2 million, in the aggregate, of building permit, water connection and sewer connection fees.
Michael Vigneux, the city’s media relations specialist, said Thursday the city is in the process of finalizing technical details with Madison Properties to effectuate the transfer of ownership of the properties.
“We meet to coordinate projects, and we share the same vision,” he said. “The project has grown, and we’re excited to be working in conjunction with Madison. On the technical side, the WRA has not yet taken title to the Madison properties as we continue to finalize the details of a Land Disposition and Development Agreement.”
The 10,000-capacity Polar Park is at the center of a larger development initiative, as it is expected to anchor a redevelopment in the city’s Kelley Square/Canal District area that will include office space, hotels, apartments, and more. The PawSox will return to Pawtucket’s McCoy Stadium for 2020, before making the move to Worcester. When Polar Park does open, it will be the International League’s first new facility since the Charlotte Knights opened BB&T Ballpark in 2014.
Rendering courtesy City of Worcester.
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