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Polar Park Project Earns Latest Approvals


Worcester, MA officials granted the latest approvals for Polar Park Wednesday, as the city’s planning board effectively allowed construction to begin on the future Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League) home. 

The PawSox will open the upcoming Polar Park in 2021, with the ballpark intended to anchor a larger redevelopment initiative in the city’s Kelley Square/Canal District area that will include office space, hotels, apartments, and more. Project officials presented several site plans to the Worcester Planning Board Wednesday, including Polar Park–an approximately 10,000 capacity facility with roughly 6,000 fixed seats–along with a six-story, mixed-use office building beyond the left-field wall, a dual-branded hotel across from the ballpark, two mixed-use buildings, and a 528-space parking garage.

Ultimately, the planning board unanimously granted these site plan approvals, effectively paving the way for construction to launch. It was a key step in keeping the project on schedule. More from the Telegram & Gazette:

Michael E. Traynor, the city’s chief development officer, told the Planning Board that Wednesday’s site plan approval was part of an aggressive schedule. Typically the Planning Board will consider more detailed aspects of the project, including landscaping, lighting and architectural elements, as part of the site plan approval process, but to meet the tight deadlines to get the ballpark open for the 2021 season, the process will be done in phases, Mr. Traynor said. Early next year the project’s proponents will return to the board to seek further approval with those final details in place. Mr. Traynor told the board it’s not unprecedented to phase in site plan approval; he said a similar process was used for the original Union Station renovations….

Three other sites that are part of the project – proposed additional residential and office space and the conversion of the former Stanley Tool building at Washington and Lamartine streets – were included on the overall plans for the site, but have not been finalized and were not part of the discussion Wednesday night.

Mark Donahue, a lawyer with Fletcher-Tilton representing Madison WG Holdings LLC, said the organization is pleased to take the important step of site plan approval. He said the progress the project has made in such a short amount of time is due in part to the commitment shown by the city, including City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr.

“There is a true sense that this is part of something special,” Mr. Donahue said.

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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