Sox Owners, Partners Plan Major Development Around Fenway Park

The Allented Mr Ripley

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Globe article here.

The owners of the Red Sox are moving into the real estate development business, partnering with a prominent developer in an ambitious, long-term venture that would transform the neighborhood just outside the walls of Fenway Park.

The five-acre project will feature office space, apartment buildings, retail, and possibly a hotel, along with public art and green space. It would be built over four sites along Jersey, Lansdowne, and Van Ness streets, as well as Brookline Avenue.

The parcels are owned by Fenway Sports Group Real Estate — a subsidiary of the Red Sox' parent company Fenway Sports Group — and the D’Angelo family, owners of sports apparel company ’47 Brand.
In addition to the mix of housing, retail, office, and lab space ― and maybe a hotel ― the new development could allow the Red Sox to leave their cramped offices in Fenway Park. That would also free up room in Fenway’s concourses. A new ’47 Brand team store will fit in somewhere, if not necessarily in its current spot across from Fenway’s Jersey Street gates.

Longer term, building something larger on a deck over the Mass. Pike could vastly increase the scale of development and help knit together the Fenway, Back Bay, and South End. But so-called air rights developments are notoriously complex — Fenway Center took two decades of planning — so the group decided to push ahead with a smaller project first.

“We think there is an opportunity" to build over the Pike, Sclar said. “We’re going to spend time really thinking about it deeply and we’re not going to let that hold this up.”
Map of parcels below:

 

Jim Ed Rice in HOF

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Speaking of parking, this takes out a sizeable chunk of game day parking. While I never park that close due to cost there are a lot of people who do so this will probably push the affordable parking out even further from the park.
 

nattysez

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The SF Giants are in the process of doing this exact same thing, all the way down to removing hundreds of parking spots to support their development ambitions. Built into these developments is an assumption that people will take public transportation or Lyft if there isn't enough parking -- we shall see.
 

Ale Xander

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The Brookline lot is the maitland parking lot?

This seems like a perfect time to build a garage there and solve 2 birds with one stone. Would be great for those medical office employees.

I also hope that this would enable the possibility to walk around the entirety of the park during games, and you obviously cant do that now.

I also hope that it would consolidate the gift shops into one large one.


But widening the concourses would be of first importance for me.
 

nvalvo

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In Paul Goldberger's Ballpark, he argues that there has been a fourth period in the history of baseball stadia. The first three will be familiar; the fourth is his take:
  1. The traditional urban stadiums, like Fenway, Wrigley, League Park, Ebbets Field, etc.
  2. The Midcentury Modern Multi-use Stadia in the Suburbs located in seas of parking lots off freeways.
  3. The postmodern return to the city as site and muse, beginning with Camden Yards, and extending through all of the good recent parks: Oracle Park, Progressive Field, Petco Park, PNC Park....
  4. New parks like Globe Life Field in Arlington or Truist Park in Atlanta, which are the focal points of New Urbanist "placemaking" for the purpose of larger real estate development projects. (The Oakland proposals are similar.)
Somewhat tendentiously, Goldberger suggests that Wrigley, having been one of the classic wave of urban ballparks is now also of the fourth wave now that the Ricketts have used it as the centerpiece of their redevelopment of its immediate environs. The Giants are doing (or have done) something similar with a bunch of parking at Mission Bay — I'm not sure how far along that project is.

I was wondering when the Red Sox might follow the Cubs and Giants down that trajectory.
 

nolasoxfan

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Anyone else miss the Rat, Metro, Axis, Venus de Milo, and Spit?

I saw Robert Ellis Orrall and the Psych Furs play at the Metro and caught the last half of the Sox game in the same night. Call me middle aged and cranky, but I miss the edge Boston once had. So it goes...
 

Max Power

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A lot of people miss the old places. Nothing at all has replaced them and Boston has become a wastleland for new music. Almost all of the small rooms had disappeared even before Covid, so there's no place for an up and coming band to play. All the practice spaces have been demolished and redeveloped. And local radio basically died with BCN. We've become a city of colleges and life sciences companies with culture getting swept aside.
 

ColdSoxPack

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The Brookline lot is the maitland parking lot?

This seems like a perfect time to build a garage there and solve 2 birds with one stone. Would be great for those medical office employees.

I also hope that this would enable the possibility to walk around the entirety of the park during games, and you obviously cant do that now.

I also hope that it would consolidate the gift shops into one large one.


But widening the concourses would be of first importance for me.
I think my father parked in that lot when I went to my first game in the early 60's. Yaz hit a homer. Is that the original sign?
 

Ale Xander

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Anyone else miss the Rat, Metro, Axis, Venus de Milo, and Spit?

I saw Robert Ellis Orrall and the Psych Furs play at the Metro and caught the last half of the Sox game in the same night. Call me middle aged and cranky, but I miss the edge Boston once had. So it goes...
Axis and Avalon >>>>>>>>>>>> House of Blues. HOB is a little sterile.
 

Doug Beerabelli

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It'd be nice to have a nice hotel right next to the stadium, and there's probably some panache in an apartment with a stadium view. I'd think there'd be some underground parking or perhaps a new garage to offset the losses.

But I share the lament for the city flavor that has been lost to development.
 

lexrageorge

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A lot of people miss the old places. Nothing at all has replaced them and Boston has become a wastleland for new music. Almost all of the small rooms had disappeared even before Covid, so there's no place for an up and coming band to play. All the practice spaces have been demolished and redeveloped. And local radio basically died with BCN. We've become a city of colleges and life sciences companies with culture getting swept aside.
I truly miss the heyday of 92.9, 94.1, 100.7, 101.7, 103.3, and 107.3 to accompany 104.1 (80's and early 90's). And I'm still not sure if that era was the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end, as it was well past the time when WBCN had a true edginess that made it something to witness in real time (mid-to-late 70's IIRC).
 

Ale Xander

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It'd be nice to have a nice hotel right next to the stadium, and there's probably some panache in an apartment with a stadium view. I'd think there'd be some underground parking or perhaps a new garage to offset the losses.

But I share the lament for the city flavor that has been lost to development.
Hotel Commonwealth isn't nice?

They also have the Verb and the Residence Inn (another good thing about another hotel would maybe be some downward pressure on prices at the RI, it's like a cat 6 IIRC, and is always overpriced, even when no home games)
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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So basically they're going the Atlanta Braves way except they'll stay in the same spot instead of hightailing it out to the distant suburbs.

I guess that's the business of baseball these days but it sure does feel that going forward that the on-field results of the team won't matter much to the bottom line. I know I'm getting old because I feel that's a shame even if that's naive of me.
 

bankshot1

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Anyone else miss the Rat, Metro, Axis, Venus de Milo, and Spit?

I saw Robert Ellis Orrall and the Psych Furs play at the Metro and caught the last half of the Sox game in the same night. Call me middle aged and cranky, but I miss the edge Boston once had. So it goes...
Or the Ark and then the Boston Tea Party. For a couple of years you could see pretty big name groups in the shadow of the Green Monster. Then the arena and stadium concerts killed those venues.
 

shaggydog2000

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So basically they're going the Atlanta Braves way except they'll stay in the same spot instead of hightailing it out to the distant suburbs.

I guess that's the business of baseball these days but it sure does feel that going forward that the on-field results of the team won't matter much to the bottom line. I know I'm getting old because I feel that's a shame even if that's naive of me.
The whole Fenway/Kenmore neighborhood has blown up. Proximity to the hospitals and BU (who really likes to accept rich foreign kids who pay full price) and the drive to develop the limited space in Boston has finally gotten around to tearing down those old 3 story buildings and putting in huge developments. Of course it makes sense now to develop what property they might have around the stadium. It's not like Foxboro or some of these other stadium development plans where they're trying to create a place to go, this area is already hot and they're just cashing in at a good time.
 

Earthbound64

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So basically they're going the Atlanta Braves way except they'll stay in the same spot instead of hightailing it out to the distant suburbs.

I guess that's the business of baseball these days but it sure does feel that going forward that the on-field results of the team won't matter much to the bottom line. I know I'm getting old because I feel that's a shame even if that's naive of me.
Remember when the team was for sale, and some of the prospective owners had proposals for moving out of Fenway, to a waterfront location or such?
Would that have been better? For the Red Sox not to have stayed there, and instead all of the niche/local/small things have been there instead?
 

Orel Miraculous

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So basically they're going the Atlanta Braves way except they'll stay in the same spot instead of hightailing it out to the distant suburbs.

I guess that's the business of baseball these days but it sure does feel that going forward that the on-field results of the team won't matter much to the bottom line. I know I'm getting old because I feel that's a shame even if that's naive of me.
Its really nothing like the Braves, who basically built an entire neighborhood where there was nothing there before. The Sox are just developing a few empty parcels they happen own in the middle of a city that’s currently building on every empty parcel.
 

fairlee76

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Remember when the team was for sale, and some of the prospective owners had proposals for moving out of Fenway, to a waterfront location or such?
Would that have been better? For the Red Sox not to have stayed there, and instead all of the niche/local/small things have been there instead?
Sorry for jumping in here but I have opinions on this. When I was a season ticket holder, I would have absolutely preferred a new stadium over on Fan Pier in the Seaport from a comfort, amenities, and scenery standpoint. The Fenway area would have been redeveloped without Fenway there (assuming it was torn down and not made into a living museum). And I don't think the economics of the last decade would support all the old places staying open. No matter what, Fenway was destined to become another "suburb in the city" development area like the Seaport. It is what most Americans want. I love the food at a lot of the new spots in Fenway (Sweet Cheeks, Tiger Mama, Citizen Public) but all of those places might as well be in Dallas for how little of a sense of place they evoke.

And, yes, I have a heavy amount of nostalgia for places like Copperfield's, the Baseball Tavern, the Dugout (alive!), and Great Scott. Just think tastes and economics have passed them by.
 

Return of the Dewey

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Anyone else miss the Rat, Metro, Axis, Venus de Milo, and Spit?

I saw Robert Ellis Orrall and the Psych Furs play at the Metro and caught the last half of the Sox game in the same night. Call me middle aged and cranky, but I miss the edge Boston once had. So it goes...
Man, those joints were great. My buddies were in college bands through my college years (90-94) and I remember their highlight was opening for Powerman5000 at the Rat with Rob Zombie in attendance.
 

biollante

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May we be sterile now ? So, with all this real estate development, ticket prices can be reduced so families can attend ? Will this be a shot in the arm for more people to watch baseball ?
 

Humphrey

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Sorry for jumping in here but I have opinions on this. When I was a season ticket holder, I would have absolutely preferred a new stadium over on Fan Pier in the Seaport from a comfort, amenities, and scenery standpoint.
I worked in that area for 3 or 4 years (the long 5 story building that contains the Boston Design Center; part of it was the command center for the Marathon Bombing manhunt, at least it was in the movie). I'm glad it ended up being a "no go" for both the Sox and the Pats. Why? The weather. It was downright nasty there most of the time. Had the potential to be Candlestick Park, East Coast Version.
 

Manuel Aristides

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As a season ticket holder, whatever they have to do to convince themselves they can remain in Fenway is fine by me. It's all I care about at this point.
 

mikeot

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"Would it be easier on the heart and soul to accept the Boston Americans (or other new name) still playing at the existing Fenway, or the Red Sox, operating under their same name since 1908, playing in a dazzling new park, with 42,000 seats, dynamic views, sparkling bathrooms and enough electrical outlets to bring Nikola Tesla to tears? "

Commentary in Friday's Globe, bound to stir up shit:

If Cleveland can say goodbye to the name ‘Indians,’ why can’t we say goodbye to Fenway Park?
 

In my lifetime

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All this waxing about the "good ole days" around Fenway. I spent time in the Rat, Spit, etc. It was great to see, hear and feel that you were a part of the upcoming music scene. However, those places were dumps and were obviously on the "clock" for any redevelopment. The entire neighborhood around Fenway was in need of redevelopment. The rest of Boston had its issues too. On the way to work, I would pass through the maze of condoms in the combat zone every day. The South End was not any great shakes either. And yes bleacher tickets were under $5, but no one expected multiple World Championships nor a Fenway Park that is now much improved from its state in 1978. Overall, things might be far from perfect, but they are much, much better.
 

jose melendez

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I just saw that article and I wonder if Sox ownership pushed that story. This is how these things start. I did PR the last time there was a new ballpark push. The amount of bullshit then was amazing. I did not know at the time, but it became pretty clear that a lot of the studies on the park and how it couldn't be rehabbed and was increasingly dangerous were bullshit.

I suspect getting rid of Fenway would actually be a bad business decision over time. Yes, it's harder to wring revenue out of it than with a more suite intensive place, but when the Sox are bad, the allure of the park keeps people coming in. A new park is exciting for a couple years and then becomes nothing.
 

GreenMonster49

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Where "in the Back Bay" is there anything close to room for a new, uncramped 42,000 seat ball park? Red Sox ownership had chances to build a new park in Boston at Suffolk Downs or Northport or the Seaport (and surely there were reasons that other things got built or will be built there), but there's no chance that a park is going there.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Where "in the Back Bay" is there anything close to room for a new, uncramped 42,000 seat ball park? Red Sox ownership had chances to build a new park in Boston at Suffolk Downs or Northport or the Seaport (and surely there were reasons that other things got built or will be built there), but there's no chance that a park is going there.
Wasn't the big plan in the latter Yawkey years (1999-2001) to build more or less right across Jersey St from the current location?


 

GreenMonster49

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Wasn't the big plan in the latter Yawkey years (1999-2001) to build more or less right across Jersey St from the current location?
Sure, that was feasible. (It's not now, thanks to redevelopment.) But Dupont's idea--a Back Bay stadium--is less feasible than putting a ballpark in 2025 on the former location of the Huntington Avenue Grounds.
 

staz

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The KDP piece is in today's Globe. I almost spit my coffee out. Attempting to leverage the social upheaval caused by COVID into reasons for a new ballpark is original at least. F that guy.
 

PseuFighter

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I'm thankfully pay-walled out of this one, but have to say, the headline is a real head scratcher and pretty tone deaf unless I'm missing something in the piece. Unsure how Cleveland changing the name of a team is the least bit related or worthy of comparison to... a new Fenway Park?
 

PseuFighter

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Do we though? In the absence of a good team, Fenway is still a pretty great attraction, especially to one-off attendees, which I realize a lot of most of us on here aren't. I think if you can somehow correct for the seats in the bowl that (a) don't face the plate, and/or (b) lack legroom, I think Fenway is totally fine. New ballparks are great for a a few years until the new ballpark smell wears off and you're stuck with some generic fancy-pants playground for the rich, which is the last thing baseball needs another of, especially in Boston, where it seems like general interest in the game - like most everywhere else - is waning. Having gone through the 1999 crusade for a new "retro" park across the street, I'm pretty glad they figured out a way to preserve this one. If anything, I'd be more interested in knowing how many years the place has left before it literally does fall apart (e.g. the underlying support structure, beams, etc -- this was a big part of the 1999 PR campaign).
 

Ale Xander

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Do we though? In the absence of a good team, Fenway is still a pretty great attraction, especially to one-off attendees, which I realize a lot of most of us on here aren't. I think if you can somehow correct for the seats in the bowl that (a) don't face the plate, and/or (b) lack legroom, I think Fenway is totally fine. New ballparks are great for a a few years until the new ballpark smell wears off and you're stuck with some generic fancy-pants playground for the rich, which is the last thing baseball needs another of, especially in Boston, where it seems like general interest in the game - like most everywhere else - is waning. Having gone through the 1999 crusade for a new "retro" park across the street, I'm pretty glad they figured out a way to preserve this one. If anything, I'd be more interested in knowing how many years the place has left before it literally does fall apart (e.g. the underlying support structure, beams, etc -- this was a big part of the 1999 PR campaign).
Unfortunately though, it's not feasible to rework the seats to have a ~29,000 comfy seat Park.
 

PseuFighter

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Why not? You might lose seats, especially less desirable seats down the right field line, but you can price the field box between the bases higher and sell as season tickets to make up for it; the average Joe's aren't spending $120+ per seat anyway; make those clubs and sell them to corporations. This is what Wrigley does now, and legroom park-wide is plentiful. I'd say we're at the point where smaller capacity isn't necessarily a bad thing. I'd take 29,000 full seats over 45,000 with 15,000+ empties every night.
 

voidfunkt

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There's no space to build a new "Fenway" at this point since all the parcels for the Fenway proposal of 2000 are redeveloped or slated for development in the next 5 years or so. Maybe some folks haven't been to that neighborhood in awhile, but it is a massively different landscape from the late 90's.

Thinking more broadly... none of these are viable options:
  • Seaport is not an option anymore either. Most of the parcels are spoken for with office, labs, or residential and a couple that aren't are under control of Massport which has long term plans for them (e.g. new USPS Depot to replace the South Station annex as a precursor to SSX expansion)
  • Suffolk Downs is too far east and would kill off attendance from both the Central-West, and Southern parts of the state. Suffolk Downs is also slated for redevelopment by HYM Group as a work-live-play Kendall Sq. 2.0 thing.
  • Really anything East or North of the city is a non-starter... Cambridge and Somerville are not going to permit a new stadium district.
  • Former Allston CSX Yard post Pike realignment... all of its owned by Harvard and they're busy working on a 20 year plan to make that the next Kendall.
  • Bayside Expo Center - Active redevelopment proposal.
There are really only two options for a new Ballpark at this point:
  1. The Widett Circle Industrial District and/or Newmarket (could also solve the Methadone Mile problem nicely).
  2. Tear down Old Fenway, play in Gilette for a season or two. I think under this model... Lansdowne street would cease to exist as you'd effectively be looking to use the boundaries of The Pike, Jersey St, and Van Ness to set the new perimeter of the Park.
Failing that there's always the option to decamp for the Suburbs... but that feels like the death of the Red Sox if it ever came to that.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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Like Ale said, changing the seating bowl and eliminating seats, especially the cheap ones, will make it harder for the average family to attend games. I got rid of my between the bases box seats because the price got prohibitive, and I'm not poor by any means. And the seats you are leaving behind still have no leg room and no hip room for a significant percentage of attendees. If you want leg room between the bases you are going to lose another 20% of those seats.

Lots of great new ballparks that aren't "generic" or "playgrounds for the rich". Check out the stadiums in Pittsburgh, San Diego, and San Francisco for example.