Perhaps sensing that asking for $60 million in state subsidies plus free riverfront land just to move your minor-league baseball team from one part of the state to the other wasn’t necessarily the best strategy, Pawtucket Red Sox owner Jim Skeffington now says he’ll consider paying something for the land, maybe:
“Larry Lucchino and I, as managing partners of the new ownership, wish to meet with you at your earliest convenience to consider various alternatives and explore ways to accomplish our mutual objective, including the possible purchase of the state land for the ballpark,” Skeffington wrote.
The 195 commission is obligated by the Federal Highway Administration to sell the land it owns at fair market value. So far, the commission has agreed to sell two parcels: 1.25 acres for $2.7 million for student housing and a third of an acre for $750,000 for mixed-use development.
If you figure that’s about $2.2 million an acre, and a baseball stadium would take up maybe 10 acres, that would mean the PawSox would have to pay around $22 million for the land — though of course they could always ask for other concessions in return.
This is all the haggling stage, where the team owner tries to figure out what they can get away with asking for, before ultimately settling for whatever looks like it’ll pass muster with government officials. As such, the interesting part will be to see how Rhode Island politicians react: So far we’ve just had a spokesperson for the governor saying, “Frankly, we’re pleased that they’ve reached out because I don’t think the proposal as it was originally formulated was a particularly fair deal for the citizens of Rhode Island,” which doesn’t tell us what they’ll think of any new plan, whatever it ends up being.
If they want, here’s a suggested response: “Actually paying for the land you’re using is nice, but why exactly should we pay you $4 million a year when at best we’re going to get $2 million in new state revenue out of this, according to your own figures?” You’re welcome.