As planning for the upcoming Worcester Red Sox (Class AAA; International League) home continues, a top Worcester official is confident that the city’s cost in the Polar Park project will not increase from the latest total estimate.
Polar Park is being constructed for the current Pawtucket Red Sox, who will relocate to Worcester following the 2020 season and open the new ballpark in 2021. Last month, it was revealed that the total cost estimate for the project had risen by about $30 million, including a $9.4 million increase in construction costs for Polar Park itself and an additional $20 million for development costs, including property acquisition, site preparation and relocating area businesses. To cover those increases, Worcester officials and WooSox ownership are proceeding with a plan that calls for the team to cover the additional $9.4 million to cover the ballpark, while the city picks up the increase in development costs.
With that plan slated for a city council vote next week, Worcester city manager Ed Augustus is expressing confidence that the city will not be facing any further increases. At this point, many major expenses are starting to gain an exact cost, as the city is set to award nearly 75% of contracts associated with the project by the end of this month. More from MassLive:
“I think a lot of the big pieces are in place,” Augustus said. “There’s still some big stuff to go but I’m hopeful as we go forward. The team is responsible for any cost overruns going forward.”
When building a ballpark, Augustus said, every aspect needs to be sent out for bid, including steel, plumbing, electric, concrete and waterproofing to name a few.
Polar Park entered February with about 55 percent of those projects having been awarded to a company. By the end of the month, that number should jump to about 75 percent of those projects being awarded to businesses.
“Because the bids are going to be awarded, we’ll know what the cost of those components are going to be,” Augustus said. “I think over the next couple of months we should pretty much be clear about the cost, other than some unforeseen circumstance.”
The revised funding plan for the Polar Park project, which included the terms on covering the higher costs, was endorsed by a city council committee last week. It is expected to go before the full Worcester City Council on February 25.
Polar Park is being built as part of a larger redevelopment of the surrounding Kelley Square/Canal District. New development is slated to include an office building behind the ballpark’s left field wall, two hotels and residential buildings, and a mixed-use building that will feature retail, office, and lab space. The city is counting on new tax revenues from private development in the area to help pay off costs on the project, along with parking revenue from Polar Park events.
Rendering courtesy City of Worcester.
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