Worcester Ballpark & Redev

citydweller

New member
Joined
Aug 23, 2019
Messages
59
Reaction score
43
Table Talk has some offices in that building that they're working on moving. As a whole Table Talk is considering moving out of the area, which would free up a considerable amount of space for redevelopment.
I spoke with a carpenter onsite and she said that the building in the background is scheduled to be razed in February. She didn't know if that represents a delay but indicated the schedule (that's she is aware of) is on track.
The reasonably mild December temperatures are helping as well.


park.jpg
 

SlothofDespond

Active Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2014
Messages
155
Reaction score
13
Might need a crazy short porch in right field to start the first season? It's the minors, it could be fun!
 

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
4,301
Reaction score
550
From last month (around the time they released the logo):

 

WormtownNative

Active Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2014
Messages
357
Reaction score
8
Well, this isn't surprising.

Polar Park costs increase - adjustments made to cover added expenses

By Nick Kotsopoulos
Telegram & Gazette Staff

WORCESTER — Construction costs for Polar Park have increased by $9.5 million over initial estimates, while costs to acquire the properties needed for the ballpark, relocate businesses and prepare the site for development have run roughly $20 million more than what was anticipated.

That has prompted city officials to negotiate changes to the agreements with the ballclub that will be playing at Polar Park starting in 2021 and for the private development that will be built as part of the overall $240 million redevelopment of the Kelley Square/Canal District area.

Those revisions, which are detailed in an 11-page report to the City Council for its meeting Tuesday night, primarily deal with actions to generate more revenue to cover those additional costs.
It also includes a bigger private development program that will be brought online and generate new tax revenues sooner.

City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. emphasized Friday that the ballpark project “will continue to pay for itself” and that no existing taxpayer money will have to be diverted for it.

Instead, project will continue to be primarily funded through new tax revenues generated from the new private development that will be taking place in the area of the ballpark, as well as through parking revenues from events at what will be a city-owned ballpark.

In addition, the city plans to expand the area of the district in the Kelley Square/Canal District area where the incremental increase in tax revenues generated by private development will be used to cover the debt service on the bonds sold by the city to finance the construction of the ballpark.

The manager said the revised pro forma for the project still depicts that estimated revenues for the Ballpark District are in excess of estimated expenses by nearly $23.5 million over 30 years of the bonds.

“What has not changed is the fundamental principle that no existing city tax revenue will be used to fund the ballpark construction,” Augustus said. “The project is larger and more complex but remains financially self-supporting.

“The city will not miss a beat; all our capital projects will continue to move forward as planned,” he added. “No money will have to be diverted from any school, street, sidewalk or parks projects. This (ballpark project) will continue to pay for itself.”
The manager added that the construction of the ballpark remains on schedule for occupancy in April 2021, when the International League begins its season. The Pawtucket Red Sox, the top minor league team of the Boston Red Sox, will be moving to Worcester that season.
Full Article
 

citydweller

New member
Joined
Aug 23, 2019
Messages
59
Reaction score
43
I still wonder why they selected the parcel North of Madison St instead of the bigger parcel across the Street. The Northern parcel is much more of a challenge due to the contour of the land along with having to acquire several properties to meet the required dimensions necessary to build the ball park. It would have been significantly less expensive and a shorter construction schedule if they selected the site across the street. I wouldn't be surprised if ticket prices may be "adjusted" as well due to cost overruns since the Team is on the hook to finance an additional 10M.
 
Last edited:

WormtownNative

Active Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2014
Messages
357
Reaction score
8
I still wonder why they selected the parcel North of Madison St instead of the bigger parcel across the Street. The Northern parcel is much more of a challenge due to the contour of the land along with having to acquire several properties to meet the required dimensions necessary to build the ball park. It would have been significantly less expensive and a shorter construction schedule if they selected the site across the street. I wouldn't be surprised if ticket prices may be "adjusted" as well due to cost overruns since the Team is on the hook to finance an additional 10M.
Worcester Business Journal has the funding sources:

The $9.4-million expense will be borne by the team, but that amount will be paid down because the team will receive revenue from the increased facility fee on tickets for stadium events. The fee for baseball games will rise from 50 cents to $1, while the fee for non-baseball events (such as concerts) will rise from $1.00 to $1.25.

.......

To cover these costs, the city plans to increase the parking costs around the stadium from $5 to $8 for standard parking and from $10 to $12 for premium parking.

In addition to using increased ticket and parking fees to cover the stadium cost increase, the city plans to incorporate more properties in the Canal District into the special taxing district, where the tax collections are used to pay the stadium bonds, on top of the $36 million the team is contributed in upfront and annual lease payments. The properties being added to the special taxing district include the extra properties the city bought as part of its land acquisition for the stadium project.
“No existing city tax revenue will be used to fund the ballpark construction,” Augustus wrote in the memo.
Source
 

SlothofDespond

Active Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2014
Messages
155
Reaction score
13
>https://www.wbjournal.com/article/woosox-stadium-costs-increase-to-132m

"The cost of just the stadium construction (not counting land acquisition) is now $99.4 million. "

Holy $hit ... $99.4M to build a 10K seat open-air stadium. I realize the scope of the overall project is extensive and will transform the area of Worcester, but still, 99.4M for just the stadium. Yikes.
I did some lunchtime googling!

Open air MLB stadiums built over the last decade seem to all clock in between $500-700M for the stadium itself. The New Yankee Stadium cost something like $1.5B but that's probably the Yankees being the Yankees so let's assume they spent as much as possible just for fun.

Best I can tell, only one AAA team build a stadium in the last decade: BB&T Ballpark (Charlotte, 2014) which cost $54M. Coolray Field (Lawrenceville, GA, 2009) cost $64M and Huntington Park (Columbus, 2009) cost $70M. You can find a full list with links on Wikipedia but they range all over the place in construction costs, and even inflation adjusted the parks seem to be getting much pricier over time.
 

jdrinboston

Active Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2011
Messages
568
Reaction score
32
I did some lunchtime googling!

Open air MLB stadiums built over the last decade seem to all clock in between $500-700M for the stadium itself. The New Yankee Stadium cost something like $1.5B but that's probably the Yankees being the Yankees so let's assume they spent as much as possible just for fun.

Best I can tell, only one AAA team build a stadium in the last decade: BB&T Ballpark (Charlotte, 2014) which cost $54M. Coolray Field (Lawrenceville, GA, 2009) cost $64M and Huntington Park (Columbus, 2009) cost $70M. You can find a full list with links on Wikipedia but they range all over the place in construction costs, and even inflation adjusted the parks seem to be getting much pricier over time.
Hartford opened a brand new 6,000-seat ballpark in 2017 for a cost of just shy of $70 million (including about $8 million in overruns and litigation costs)

By comparison, the team in question vacated a 6,000-seat ballpark in nearby New Britain, which was built in 1996 for just shy of $10 million. Inflation certainl plays a role, but if you were to look at the difference between the park in New Britain and the new park in Hartford, you would also see how drastically the amenities and design expectations changed over the course of 20 years.
 
Last edited:

citydweller

New member
Joined
Aug 23, 2019
Messages
59
Reaction score
43
I'm sure the author of the highly acclaimed Worcester Magazine is reveling in glory to write an "I told you so" article. Perhaps he would rather have economic stagnation, thwart construction jobs and eliminate future tax revenue and preserve the blight in the depressed neighbors of Worcester.
 

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
4,301
Reaction score
550
Actually, it isn't. This is kind of how it's supposed to work, isn't it? The cost overruns will be covered by higher ticket and parking prices... so the users will be covering the increased cost of the resource. If the economy crashes, Madison Holdings goes under, or this house of cards collapses in some other way he can go ahead and gloat. As it is, impacts to city services are still in his head.
 

cubalibre

Active Member
Joined
May 30, 2006
Messages
110
Reaction score
33
It’s worrisome that this pretty steep 30% cost overrun happened fairly early in the construction process. Makes one think it won’t be the last.
 

WormtownNative

Active Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2014
Messages
357
Reaction score
8
I'm sure the author of the highly acclaimed Worcester Magazine is reveling in glory to write an "I told you so" article. Perhaps he would rather have economic stagnation, thwart construction jobs and eliminate future tax revenue and preserve the blight in the depressed neighbors of Worcester.
Worcester Magazine's "Worcesteria" column has been news briefs interlaced with opinion ever since I can remember. I am biased in that I share a similar opinon with Mr. Shaner about the ballpark, but cost overruns are cost overruns, and when that money spent is public funds and isn't even discussed in the public domain until a report from the city manager to the city council (dated 1/10/20) it becomes rather infurating at what the city could have done with that money instead (such as helping to pay for one of the two new high schools [one currently under construction & one proposed], recruit classes for the FD & PD, etc.). This ballpark is a MAJOR expense for the city, and Worcester has a track record on placing all its chips on that "one project" that promises to redevelop the city. First it was the Skymark, then the Galleria, then CitySquare, now the ball park. Worcesterites have become rather cynical at city redevelopment projects, and for good reason. They aren't NIMBY's, they just don't want the city to lose its a$$ on the deal.

It’s worrisome that this pretty steep 30% cost overrun happened fairly early in the construction process. Makes one think it won’t be the last.
Bingo.
 

bolehboleh

Active Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2011
Messages
386
Reaction score
0
Worcester Magazine's "Worcesteria" column has been news briefs interlaced with opinion ever since I can remember. I am biased in that I share a similar opinon with Mr. Shaner about the ballpark, but cost overruns are cost overruns, and when that money spent is public funds and isn't even discussed in the public domain until a report from the city manager to the city council (dated 1/10/20) it becomes rather infurating at what the city could have done with that money instead (such as helping to pay for one of the two new high schools [one currently under construction & one proposed], recruit classes for the FD & PD, etc.). This ballpark is a MAJOR expense for the city, and Worcester has a track record on placing all its chips on that "one project" that promises to redevelop the city. First it was the Skymark, then the Galleria, then CitySquare, now the ball park. Worcesterites have become rather cynical at city redevelopment projects, and for good reason. They aren't NIMBY's, they just don't want the city to lose its a$$ on the deal.



Bingo.
So basically Worcester is the Rhode Island of Massachusetts :)
 

citydweller

New member
Joined
Aug 23, 2019
Messages
59
Reaction score
43
.... This ballpark is a MAJOR expense for the city ...
How so? Are you suggesting that public funds (tax payer $$) will be funneled to payoff the loan debt? The article stated, "“No existing city tax revenue will be used to fund the ballpark construction,” Augustus wrote in the memo. " Is that just a bunch a BS ... explain please.
 

WormtownNative

Active Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2014
Messages
357
Reaction score
8
How so? Are you suggesting that public funds (tax payer $$) will be funneled to payoff the loan debt? The article stated, "“No existing city tax revenue will be used to fund the ballpark construction,” Augustus wrote in the memo. " Is that just a bunch a BS ... explain please.
I should clarify my earlier statement a little better.

You're correct that no existing city tax revenue will be used as it currently stands it's coming off of loans which will be paid back by the park, surrounding properties, and various fees tagged onto events there.

However, for a city whose annual budget is only $630 million, it is rather concerning to a chunk of the residents and taxpayers that a $130+ million ballpark that was railroaded through the city council as a rubber stamp. When the DCU Center was built, it was put on the ballot as a referendum for the citizens to decide. When the funding plan came out for the ballpark, Worcester Business Journal went out and compared how this deal was with other ballpark deals. If you have the time, it's a good read. Long story short, reception on the financing is mixed. And not everyone (myself included), is on board with the project.
 

HenryAlan

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2009
Messages
2,256
Reaction score
242
So if I'm reading that article correctly, Worcester is going to have to cover about $65 million of the debt service, with the team covering $35 million. And the revenue stream to fund that payment is premised on increased property taxes from stadium area development? Does seem a bit risky, but at the same time, the location does seem tailor made for a large entertainment and TOD housing. Only time will tell, but personally I suspect it will pay off. I can definitely understand the concern that it won't, though.
 

Top