Gilbane Building Company & Hunt Named Construction Managers for New PawSox Stadium

Thursday, March 14, 2019

 

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Polar Park PHOTO: screenshot of video illustration released by Worcester in January

The City of Worcester Selection Committee named Gilbane Building Company and Hunt Construction Group as construction managers for Polar Park, the home of the Worcester Red Sox. 

“Although the Worcester Red Sox are not voting members of the Selection Committee, members of our front office sat through all five candidates’ exceptional presentations. We support the Committee’s recommendation and look forward to working with the Gilbane-Hunt team, which has both deep experience in sports and baseball and substantial local ties,” said the Worcester Red Sox in a statement.

The Worcester Redevelopment Authority will vote on the recommendation at its next scheduled meeting on Tuesday, March 19 at 8 a.m. in the Levi Lincoln Chamber of City Hall.

Polar Park is scheduled to open in Worcester’s Canal District in April of 2021.

A groundbreaking for the project is set to take place in July of 2019.

About Gilbane and Hunt

Gilbane has completed projects at venues such as Fenway Park and Cleveland’s Progressive Field, while Hunt has worked on nine Triple-A facilities across the country and over 30 Major League ballparks.

The two companies together have completed projects such as the Connecticut Convention Center and Rentschler Field. 

“With the addition of Gilbane-Hunt as Construction Manager, we’ve assembled the final piece of our All-Star Team that will bring Polar Park to life in April 2021,” said City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. “Their impressive resume of work both nationally, and locally here in Worcester, really speaks for itself. I extend my sincere thanks to the Selection Committee as well as the Worcester Red Sox for their work in evaluating the proposals.” 

Gilbane has also completed 20 projects in Worcester, including the Sports and Recreation Center, Parking Deck/Playing Fields and Residence Hall/Garage at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, in addition to the Worcester Trial Court Complex, Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital, the parking garage at Union Station and the construction of North High School.

Selection Process

The Selection Committee was made up of the lead architect from D’Agostino Izzo Quirk Architects, a representative from Skanska, the owner’s project manager, and three City staff.

The Committee reviewed five proposals and interviewed all the firms before making a recommendation to the WRA based on qualifications.

As a condition of the contract, Gilbane-Hunt is fully committed to the WRA’s Responsible Employer & Inclusionary Participation Policy, claims the City of Worcester in the announcement.

 

Related Slideshow: PawSox Stadium Aftermath: Winners and Losers

The Providence baseball stadium looked like a sure thing. Powerful owners pushing the project. Top politicians coupled with influential lobbyists and PR consultants all on board. Then, everything changed.

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Winner

Coalition Radio -- A small group of libertarian activists relentlessly advocated against any public financing for a private venture. Pat Ford, Dave Fisher and Tony Jones leveraged internet radio and social media to pound the project and the costs.

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Loser

Speaker Nicholas Mattiello -- The Speaker was all in for the project. He repeatedly voiced his strong support for the project. Some said it was a project for his legacy and others said he supported the project as a result of influence of the ownership group and their lobbyist Bob Goldberg.

It wasn't long ago that the Speaker said the Providence Stadium would be revenue positive.  In a few short weeks, the project somehow went from supposedly financially advantageous to taxpayers to DOA. 

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Winner

GOP -- The Rhode Island Republicans came out against the project early and kept raising questions about the cost and the approval process.  Despite being in the political minority, the Republicans used their thorn-in the-side status to play the spoiler. 

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Loser

Old School Top Down PR Strategy -- Renderings, fact finding trips for leaders and listening tours were all the strategies embraced by the ownership team and each came back and burned them. The listening tour had higher attendance at many sites by taxpayers who were opposed to the project -- and the fact they had to write their questions down, and be lectured to in response, did not go over well by opponents.

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Winner (maybe)

Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien -- It looked like the Mayor was a loser for sure with his city's most valuable asset moving from Pawtucket just 6 miles away to a gleaming new $100 Million project in Providence. With the Providence Stadium dead, Pawtucket has a window to try and create a proposal that improves McCoy, is financially viable and acceptable to the ownership group.  

The window is very short, and Grebien will move from the winners' column to the losers' bracket if the PawSox leave RI.

As the Mayor wrote in a GoLocal MINDSETTER™ piece, "We remain hopeful that the new owners will see the value that Pawtucket has given their brand and that the growth we are experiencing will only strengthen it. We hope they will Join the Evolution here in Pawtucket."

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Loser

Jorge Elorza -- The Providence Mayor was unable to put together a deal and a location that worked for taxpayers. There was -- and still may be -- an opportunity to bring hundreds of thousands of new visitors into the city annually at the 195 site.

Elorza needs to change the present narrative from crime, a decrepit recreation system, and visits to meet with Guatemalan corrupt leaders to where the city needs to be.

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Winner

Taxpayers -- A coalition of taxpayer groups and activists scored their most significant political victory to date. This may spark an empowered effort to take on other issues with enthusiasm.

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Loser

Public Financing of Stadiums in the US -- The dramatic defeat of the proposed stadium in Providence may cause other cities, counties and states to take a harder look at the economics of public financing of stadiums.  

There is now a blueprint for how taxpayers and progressives can build a coalition to oppose a professional sports team, organized labor and billionaire ownership interests.

The PawSox defeat and the Boston Olympics collapse may speak to a broader grassroots movement opposed to the spending on public funds on private projects.

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Winner

Grassroots Activists -- Multiple grassroots efforts sprang up to oppose the stadium move, and perhaps none as vocal - or visible -- as "Organizing for Pawtucket" and David Norton.

Even when a new stadium looked like it was on life support, Norton and supporters utilized both social media and traditional boots-on-the-ground techniques (read: canvassing the Speaker's neighborhood -- in Cranston) to keep the pressure on until the deal was dead. 

 
 

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