more...Patriot Place details major solar installation
Boston Business Journal - by Jackie Noblett
Patriot Place, the 1.3 million-square-foot shopping complex adjacent to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, will install a solar photovoltaic system powered by panels made by Evergreen Solar Inc.
The Marlborough, Mass., solar company (Nasdaq: ESLR) will provide roughly 2,800 panels to the 525 kilowatt installation over the roofs of seven buildings in the complex. Fans going to New England Patriots games will be able to see the system on the roof of The Hall at Patriot Place, a Patriots-themed museum. The system will provide approximately 30 percent of the power used to run the complex over the next 30 years.
Year-round Gillette rail stop studied
Cost of cars, upgrades among the concerns
By Eric Moskowitz, Globe Staff | April 5, 2010
State transportation and economic development officials are exploring the possibility of turning the game-day train station at Gillette Stadium into a year-round commuter rail stop.
The service extension would provide a rail link to Patriot Place, the 1.3-million-square-foot Foxborough shopping center developed by Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and the neighboring property where Kraft and state officials hope to lure a corporate headquarters or research campus. It would also provide commuter rail service to a town that has such service only on football Sundays.
Officials say they are weighing those benefits against the drawbacks: The project would require the state to upgrade the line and purchase cars, would increase rail traffic at an already crowded South Station, and would add to maintenance and operating costs for the financially strained Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and its commuter rail operation.
Secretary of Transportation Jeffrey B. Mullan said the study of a Foxborough rail stop fits into the state?s larger exploration of potential improvements across the system to enhance commuter rail service and encourage job growth and private development.
?We?re just trying to target investments in areas that make the most sense,?? Mullan said in an interview. He called the Foxborough study ?very preliminary?? and said, ?We?re only seeking to give ourselves a sense of how feasible it would be to establish permanent service.??
A previously proposed infrastructure improvement in the stadium area ? a footbridge across Route 1 that was to be funded with $9 million in federal stimulus funds ? was withdrawn by the administration of Governor Deval Patrick late last year.
State officials had called the footbridge a job-creation measure, saying it would enhance Kraft?s $800 million investment and help lure tenants to the future corporate or research campus, which is separated from the mall, stadium, and rail site by Route 1.
But the state pulled the footbridge project from the stimulus list in December, citing concerns that it was not ?shovel ready.?? Patrick administration officials later acknowledged that they also backed off because the project drew public criticism and questions about appearances: The bridge would be most heavily used on game days, and Kraft and his wife had made contributions to Patrick, Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, and the state Democratic Party while the project was being reviewed.
A spokesman for Kraft expressed optimism about the new rail expansion study.
?We understand that the MBTA is looking into the feasibility of commuter rail service, and we look forward to working with the town, the state, and the MBTA to see if it could work,?? Stacey James, a spokesman for Kraft Group, said in an e-mail.
Paul Regan, executive director of the MBTA Advisory Board, said the rail expansion idea is intriguing and ?the next logical step?? after providing game-day service. But the project should not jump ahead of investment in the commuter rail?s aging fleet and infrastructure, he said.
?We like to expand the system, we like to cut ribbons, but nobody cuts ribbons on new brake shoes and power substations,?? said Regan, whose board represents member communities served by the T. ?If you don?t maintain your existing system, basically you have a system that will collapse under the additional strain.??
The T provides Foxborough, a town of 16,000 located 24 miles south of Boston, service on game days from South Station via a slow freight line spur that branches off from the commuter rail?s Franklin line. A second commuter rail train runs on game days north from Providence, but that line is not being considered for extension.
The expansion study, conducted by the Department of Transportation and the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, grew out of the Gillette Stadium area?s status as one of 19 growth districts identified across the state. In those districts, state and local officials share long-term goals for attracting private investment and streamlining the permitting process, with an emphasis on job growth, housing creation, transit-oriented development, and green building.
The state is spending $131,000 on the rail study, using an economic development grant to hire an engineering and technical services firm. The study, due this summer, will lay out the potential advantages and disadvantages of full-time commuter rail service in Foxborough. Further study and decisions on cost, environmental impact, design, and construction would follow if warranted, officials said.
?They?re in the first pitches of the first inning of a nine-inning game,?? said Paul R. Feeney, chairman of Foxborough?s Board of Selectmen. ?I can?t stress enough how preliminary these talks are.??
Feeney said that, before taking a position on expansion, his board would weigh the needs of residents who commute to Boston, the potential economic benefits of rail expansion, and the possible impact on the character of the town.
Eric Moskowitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Went to Patriot Place this weekend - they've put a fence around the Red Robin/Old Navy building next to the Renaissance hotel. They anticipate opening a Hilton Garden Inn in 2016 on that footprint. Apparently hotel rooms in the Gillette parking lot are in high demand.