For Immediate Release: 7/11/2019 5:33 pm
The City of Worcester, together with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, celebrated a historic milestone on Thursday, hosting a ceremonial groundbreaking for Polar Park, the future home of the Worcester Red Sox.
City, state and federal officials along with executives from the Worcester Red Sox, Gilbane-Hunt, D’Agostino Izzo Quirk Associates (DAIQ), Skanska USA Building Inc. as well as Canal District and Green Island community leaders, and fans gathered at an existing parking lot at the intersection of Plymouth and Washington streets, near the future Left Field Foul Pole, to shovel the first dirt on a site that will host the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox in 2021.
“This is a very special moment in Worcester’s history—a line of demarcation separating Worcester before Polar Park and Worcester after Polar Park,” said City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. “Today we write the first words of a new chapter in Worcester’s history.”
“Today is the day that our city once again will put its thumbprint on our nation’s past time. Our city will insert itself into the history of the Red Sox, one of the most storied baseball franchises, and into the lexicon of the most American game; not a Red Sox game will go by without a radio or television commentator mentioning the City of Worcester,” said Mayor Joseph M. Petty. “Make no mistake: history is being made today because history will be made on this field.”
The ballpark, designed for year-round use with a capacity of 10,000, is the centerpiece of a redevelopment project on empty brownfields adjacent to the city’s resurgent Canal District. The overall project comprises approximately 18 acres that includes private development by Madison Properties on the former site of the Wyman-Gordon Company near Kelley Square. The development will include 250 market-rate apartments, two hotels totaling 250 rooms, an iconic 96,000 square-foot office building beyond left field, 65,000 square-feet of retail and restaurant space and a new 500+ space parking garage.
The project also calls for infrastructure improvements to streets, sidewalks and lighting fixtures as well as dynamic spaces such as parks and the inclusion of public art. Overall, the project is estimated to create hundreds of full-time and part-time jobs both in construction and non-construction positions.
Skanska and IFG serve as the owner’s project manager and Delano Associates, LLC, serves as the team’s project manager. DAIQ is the architect. Gilbane-Hunt, a joint-venture, serves as the construction manager at risk. Walker Consultants has been selected to design the multi-level parking garage.
As part of the project, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will commit $35 million over the next 2-3 years which consists of support for new market-rate housing through the Housing Development Incentive Program and MassWorks funding for the construction of the parking garage and other infrastructure and public realm improvements in an effort to support investments being made in the Canal District. MassDOT is also working with the City to redesign and reconstruct Kelley Square for the benefit of all Worcester residents.
“Our administration is pleased to make important infrastructure investments that will continue to support job growth and economic development in Worcester, including housing and transportation priorities in the Canal District,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The Worcester Red Sox and Polar Park are important components of this future growth, and our administration is proud to work with public and private partners to promote expanded economic opportunity in the Commonwealth’s second-largest city.”
“Governor Baker and I are proud of the collaboration with city leaders that has led to Worcester’s ongoing renaissance, and we are excited to be a partner in this historic project, the benefits of which will stretch far beyond the walls of Polar Park,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “We congratulate all who have made today’s groundbreaking possible, and look forward to making important investments in the Canal District that will benefit the entire city and continue to make the area an important destination.”
“The Baker-Polito Administration has created a suite of tools to promote economic development, build housing, and foster job creation, and the City of Worcester has expertly leveraged them to its advantage, especially in the Canal District,” said Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy. “We are pleased to be a partner with the City and the Worcester Red Sox on the continued redevelopment of this neighborhood, which will positively impact the entire region.”
Polar Park is expected to host 125 year-round events including Minor League Baseball games, road races, concerts, collegiate/high school sporting events, fireworks displays and other community events.
“This Polar Park ground-breaking ceremony is a major milestone in our journey,” said Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer Larry Lucchino, Principal Owner and Chairman of the Pawtucket Red Sox. “Working collaboratively with representatives of the City of Worcester and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, together with a first-class design team, we are well underway in creating a
community ballpark that serves a broad region, and that looks and feels and tastes and smells like this proud city, the second-largest in all of New England.
“More than 800 suggestions have come from nearly 20 ‘Fan Planning Sessions,’ with more to come. Many of those ideas have already been incorporated into the design. The public participation has been a rewarding part of the planning process.”
“This is an exciting moment for Worcester, for Massachusetts, for New England, and for all who love Minor League Baseball,” said the club’s Ballpark Design Advisor Janet Marie Smith. “DAIQ Architects has designed seating literally carved into the unusual topography of the site, while utilizing the adjoining streets as ideal urban appendages to the ballpark. Worcester has so many points of pride—from a baseball standpoint, a cultural standpoint, and a multi-cultural standpoint. We relish the opportunity to weave these elements into a vibrant city. We are jumping aboard a moving train, and we love that opportunity.”
In addition to an exceptional fan experience, the family-friendly ballpark will feature innovations and amenities that appeal to all ages and demographics. The area surrounding the ballpark will serve as an attraction, as well as an engaging accessible new neighbor in the Canal District.