PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) – The owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox announced Friday they are planning to leave Rhode Island for Massachusetts.
The team said it signed a Letter of Intent to build a downtown ballpark in Worcester for the 2021 season. The team said it plans to play at McCoy Stadium for the next two years until the new stadium is built.
The team will be called the Worcester Red Sox.
“We are eager to build an innovative, family-friendly ballpark that reflects the love and appreciation of baseball and that unifies Central Massachusetts and the Blackstone Valley Corridor,” said PawSox Chairman Larry Lucchino.
According to a media packet about the project, construction will cost $86-90 million. The city will be borrowing money and using revenue from lease payments, local property taxes, fees and parking from surrounding new development to pay off the loan.
Officials said the future park will result in 225 market-rate apartments, a 150-room hotel, a second boutique hotel will consist of approximately 100 to 110 rooms overlooking the ballpark and 65,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space by March 1, 2021 as part of Phase 1 of development
The decision follows more than three years of debate in Rhode Island over the future of the PawSox.
Eyewitness News report Ted Nesi first broke the news Friday morning that the team planned to call Gov. Gina Raimondo and Pawtucket Mayor Don Grebien to formally let them know the team plans to move.
While waiting at Pawtucket City Hall to speak to Mayor Donald Grebien, Eyewitness News reporter Julianne Lima said Chairman Larry Lucchino and other PawSox officials went to city hall looking for the mayor. Since he was not there, she said the group dropped off a letter.
Officials told the mayor’s secretary Mayor Grebien should read the letter ASAP and that they’d be calling him.
When asked to comment, Lucchino declined at that time. However, in the team’s news release, Lucchino thanked Grebien.
“I thank the Mayor of Pawtucket, Don Grebien, who is a wonderful partner, an honorable public servant, and an heroic champion of his city. ” Lucchino said. “We continue to wish him well and will remain supportive of his efforts to improve his city. We also thank the fans of our region, who have loyally supported this baseball club for decades.”
A beautiful innovative downtown ballpark is coming to “The Heart of the Commonwealth” in 2021. Visionaries Larry Lucchino and Janet Marie Smith, who created Camden Yards and who helped save Fenway Park, will create a Triple-A park in Worcester, MA. https://t.co/GKvSsgTMit pic.twitter.com/S95dUQTO3Y— PawSox (@PawSox) August 17, 2018