USL Club to Set Up Shop 20 Miles from the Revs?

Discussion in 'New England Revolution' started by Brian in Boston, Nov 7, 2019.

  1. Brian in Boston

    Brian in Boston Member+

    Jun 17, 2004
    MA, RI and CA
    The group proposing to bring a USL franchise to Pawtucket, RI is apparently planning for the team's soccer-specific stadium to be part of a $400 million development in the city.

    An artist's rendering that accompanies a story in The Valley Breeze newspaper shows a soccer stadium occupying the site of the former Tidewater Gas Works facility on the west bank of the Seekonk River. What appears to be mixed-use development is shown stretching from the Festival Pier to a parcel at 45 Division Street on the river's east bank. The Apex site also shows new development in the artwork.

    Brett Johnson - a Brown University graduate, principal in Fortuitous Partners, and Co-Chairman of the USL Championship's Phoenix Rising - submitted a bid to the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and City of Pawtucket seeking to redevelop the McCoy Stadium site as a recreational park featuring multipurpose athletic fields, while simultaneously bringing a USL club to a new soccer-specific stadium in downtown Pawtucket.

    A decision on which of six bids - including Johnson's - will be accepted for development opportunities on the McCoy Stadium property and in downtown Pawtucket has yet to be made, but officials have indicated it could come soon.

    http://www.valleybreeze.com/2019-11...uts-400-million-downtown-project#.XcR9jS3MxmC
     
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  2. Minutemanii

    Minutemanii Member+

    Dec 29, 2005
    Abington MA
    Club:
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Ha ha ha! Even a USL affiliate in NE will get a SSS before the Revs do! :)
     
  3. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Member+

    Apr 25, 2000
    SE Mass
  4. Chowda

    Chowda Member

    Sep 13, 2004
    Rhode Island
    Club:
    New England Revolution
    From what I've read, this bid seems to be the favorite. Keeping McCoy isn't viable and nobody else seems to offer this much investment. Granted, they may want the state to pitch in a boatload of cash, which would be a deal breaker.

    What's interesting is the Apex site is more than enough land to put a soccer stadium on. That would be right across a small bridge to downtown Pawtucket, where the city wants to revitalize. This stadium would be about 1/3 mile down the river from there, which isn't that bad. I'm guessing they would want some sort of office space/outlet shopping mix on the other side of the river as part of the project. Maybe the Apex site would have some sort of dining/entertainment area, effectively extending downtown a bit closer to the project? Not that there's currently anything interesting in downtown Pawtucket to extend. :)

    If the Revs have no concrete plans to move to Boston, they may want to be in USL League 1 and keep the stadium smaller. By the time they would be playing, there could be a division in the Northeast, not the national league they have now. With the Revs in Boston, I'm sure a RI team could do decent in USL Championship.

    I'm curious how this will play out. I'd very likely be a STH if this thing got built.
     
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  5. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Member+

    Apr 25, 2000
    SE Mass
    This is not the kind of thing that Gina Raimondo is known for, but I could see her trying to leverage the stadium deal to generate more investment in Pawtucket, which in fairness is an underrated area ripe for investment/gentrification.

    There are so many interesting pieces to this. Pawtucket is near Central
    Falls and Attleboro, both of which have large Central American populations. The site is also right off the highway, and is 25 minutes from Fall River and 40 minutes from New Bedford, aka West Portugal. IF the Krafts were patient and did not try to monetize this thing too quickly, and if hey allowed the support to grow organically (which they manifestly failed to do with the Revs, as many will remember), I think the USL club could do very well. And yes, I might well be a STH myself.
     
  6. tsb11

    tsb11 Member

    United States
    May 31, 2018
    Im pretty sure the portugese speaking country with more than 100M people would get precedence in the "west portugal" race, but I do agree there is a sizeable population of portugese immigrants in New Bedford
     
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  7. Brian in Boston

    Brian in Boston Member+

    Jun 17, 2004
    MA, RI and CA
    #7 Brian in Boston, Nov 10, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
    Bear in mind that, to date, there's no indication that the Krafts have anything whatsoever to do with this proposal to bring a USL franchise to a soccer-specific stadium in Pawtucket.

    A request for proposals (RFP) for "individuals, firms, and/or organizations who are interested in using, redeveloping and operating McCoy Stadium" was issued by the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation on Tuesday, April 2nd of this year.

    By Friday, April 26th, six proposals for reuse of McCoy Stadium and redevelopment of downtown Pawtucket had been received by the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation. Said proposals included a pitch by Brett Johnson and Fortuitous Partners "to bring a professional sports team – a United Soccer League franchise – to downtown Pawtucket". According to a statement issued by the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation at the time, the plan put forward by Johnson and his colleagues "envisions construction of a multi-sport stadium and ancillary and sport related development. The proposal includes a renewed use for the existing McCoy baseball stadium site. A new recreational park is proposed with six new multipurpose fields that can be used for soccer, lacrosse, or football."

    One other bid amongst the six that were received also focused on soccer. An entity dubbed Ajax Advisors, LLC called for "independent professional soccer in a new stadium in Downtown Pawtucket and the conversion of McCoy into a light industrial use." While Ajax Advisors has been involved in the development of New England ventures - Lovejoy Wharf in Boston, Brookside Mills in Westford, New England Sports Village in Attleboro, and 35 United Drive in West Bridgewater - they don't seem to have any direct ties to the Kraft family.

    Speaking of the Krafts, it wasn't until June of this year that news broke about the New England Revolution seriously considering the possibility of launching a USL side in 2020. Now, I'll grant that the hiring of Bruce Arena undoubtedly had the most to do with the Krafts' decision to finally get on the stick with regard to establishing a "second team" in close proximity to the Revs. That said, might the news that the State of Rhode Island and City of Pawtucket were entertaining the idea of allowing a professional soccer team to set up shop approximately 20 miles from Gillette Stadium have supplied the Krafts with additional motivation?

    In any event, if a Pawtucket-based USL side actually takes to the pitch in a soccer-specific stadium as impressive as the one depicted in the artist's rendering, and the revival of the Revolution under Bruce Arena's leadership continues apace, it would make for an abundance of riches for soccer enthusiasts in southeastern New England.
     
  8. Revs in 2010

    Revs in 2010 Member+

    Feb 29, 2000
    Dedham, MA
    Club:
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think of New Bedford/East Providence (Which was left out of the earlier conversation) as magnets for Portuguese speakers of all varieties, including Brazilians and those from CV and the Azores, who are mostly "diaspora emigrants" so much higher numbers here in proportion to population.
     
  9. Brian in Boston

    Brian in Boston Member+

    Jun 17, 2004
    MA, RI and CA
    #9 Brian in Boston, Nov 29, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2019
    It appears that next Monday will see State of Rhode Island and City of Pawtucket officials announce that professional soccer will play a role in the redevelopment of McCoy Stadium and the municipality's downtown.

    According to a meeting notice, the McCoy Stadium & Pawtucket Downtown RFP Review Committee is scheduled to convene at 12:00 PM on Monday in order to "consider" the six proposals for redevelopment that were submitted in April of this year. An invitation that's been circulating in Rhode Island claims that a "special economic development announcement" is set to be made at the Blackstone Valley Visitor Center in Pawtucket just 30 minutes after said meeting commences.

    Of the six bids received in response to the RFP, two call for soccer to play a role in the revitalization of McCoy Stadium and Pawtucket's downtown. One, from AJAX Advisors, seeks to "bring professional sports to Pawtucket with independent professional soccer in a new stadium in Downtown Pawtucket and the conversion of McCoy into light industrial use." The other, from Fortuitous Partners principal and Phoenix Rising FC co-chairman Brett Johnson, would bring a United Soccer League franchise to a riverfront stadium in downtown Pawtucket, construct ancillary development surrounding said facility, and repurpose the McCoy Stadium site as a recreational park featuring six multipurpose fields that can be used for soccer, lacrosse, or football.

    In September, an entity dubbed Rhode Island Riptide FC hired state house lobbyists Peter Baptista, Daniel Connors, and Michael Sweeney to advocate on its behalf. Shortly thereafter, Rhode Island Commerce Corporation spokesman Matt Sheaff confirmed that Rhode Island Riptide FC was linked to one of the six groups that had responded to the RFP in April, but wouldn't say which one. Earlier this month, The Boston Globe reported that RiptideFC.com was redirecting to Phoenix Rising FC's website.

    Both in late October and earlier this month, The Valley Breeze newspaper reported that it appeared one of the soccer proposals would ultimately be selected in Pawtucket, going so far as to run a piece - including an artist's rendering - on the $400 million plan put forth by Fortuitous Partners.

    So, it certainly seems likely that pro soccer is headed to Pawtucket, Rhode Island, with the team most likely being a USL franchise. Additionally, it would appear that the name Rhode Island Riptide FC is, at the very least, under consideration for said club.
     
  10. Brian in Boston

    Brian in Boston Member+

    Jun 17, 2004
    MA, RI and CA
    So, Brett Johnson and Fortuitous Partners are, in fact, bringing a USL Championship franchise to Pawtucket, Rhode Island. They're shooting for the team to take the field in time for the 2022 season.

    As part of the $400 million Tidewater Landing mixed-use development, said team would play its home matches at a 7,500-seat stadium on the west bank of the Seekonk River in downtown Pawtucket. Adjacent to the stadium would be a riverwalk park, restaurant and retail outlets, and parking. Across the river, reachable by a new cable-stayed pedestrian bridge and situated north of the City of Pawtucket's Festival Pier, would be a mix of just over 200 units of housing, further restaurant and retail development, and another riverwalk park. Finally, at the so-called Apex site on Main Street, development would include an indoor sports center, a 200-room hotel, and commercial office space.

    The plan calls for Fortuitous Partners to invest between $310 million and $330 million of the project's total price tag, with the public sector's contribution targeted to be between $70 million and $90 million in infrastructure improvements (construction of the pedestrian bridge, streetscaping improvements, and development of the riverwalk parks).

    Fortuitous Partners and officials with the State of Rhode Island and City of Pawtucket will spend the next four months finalizing details of the project.

    https://www.uslsoccer.com/news_article/show/1068623

    http://thetidewaterlanding.com/about-tidewater-landing/
     
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  11. rkupp

    rkupp Member+

    Jan 3, 2001
    Are the state/city really going to pony up the public money? [not asking BiB, specifically, just an open question]. I would think that's still a lightning rod in RI.
     
  12. ToMhIlL

    ToMhIlL Member+

    Feb 18, 1999
    Boxborough, MA
    Club:
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Yeah, ever since Curt Schilling bilked the state out of all kinds of socialist gub-mint handouts and there was nothing to show for it they've been pretty leery about that sort of thing.

    No bitterness, but it directly cost me my job when I was on a contract job with Hasbro when I was in between real jobs during the recession. The time in my life that I could least afford something like that.
     
  13. Brian in Boston

    Brian in Boston Member+

    Jun 17, 2004
    MA, RI and CA
    Governor Raimondo, House Speaker Mattiello, Senate President Ruggerio, and Mayor Grebien were all on hand at the announcement, with each publicly lauding the project in their remarks. So, at the moment, the key political power-brokers all seem to be onboard.

    One of the keys to softening outright opposition up to this point has been the fact that the public investment in the project - expected to be somewhere between $70 million and $90 million - accounts for just 18% to 22.5% of the total $400 million price tag. An estimated $60 million to $80 million of the public investment is to be derived from state revenues, with the rest of the public contribution coming from the City of Pawtucket. Preliminary studies indicate that taxes collected over a 30-year period by the city and state from businesses located within the development have the potential to be double the amount of money that the public sector is investing into the project.

    Fortuitous Partners is responsible for financing the $310 million to $330 million balance, including the cost of the stadium.

    Further, the public investment is targeted towards paying for infrastructure and other non-stadium costs - namely, a new pedestrian footbridge spanning the Seekonk River, creation of the riverwalk parks on both sides of the waterway, and work connecting the developments on the Tidewater, Division Street, and Apex sites into the surrounding street grid. Thus far, that seems to be easier for folks to swallow than the notion that "taxpayers are footing the bill for a stadium".

    There also seems to be a consensus amongst politicians and local business leaders that this plan is actually a better one than that which the Pawtucket Red Sox ownership group was pushing.

    Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor has stated that this project involves seven times as much private investment as the Paw Sox proposal and that the "mix of uses is far superior". He's also noted that, compared to what is on tap in the Tidewater Landing plan, the baseball stadium called for minimal ancillary development.

    Jeremy Duffy, a co-founder of The Guild brewery facility in downtown Pawtucket was one of the biggest proponents of building a new ballpark for the Paw Sox in Pawtucket. I recently read where he'd tweeted that he thought the Tidewater Landing proposal was "a better plan" than the ballpark, with "a more comprehensive approach to development and rebuilding Pawtucket".

    There is a lot on the table besides the sports-related components of the project. In addition to the 7,500-seat soccer stadium on the Tidewater Parcel and the indoor sports center at the Apex site, the proposal calls for over 200 units of housing, 100,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, 200,000 square feet of commercial office development, a 210-room hotel, and the new footbridge and riverwalk gr

    So, now the project enters a 120-day due diligence period. During this period the total amount of public financing will be finalized.
     
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