PawSox owners: Fine, maybe we’ll pay for stadium land if that’ll make you people happy

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.

4 comments on “PawSox owners: Fine, maybe we’ll pay for stadium land if that’ll make you people happy

  1. Reading different posts so my info may be off. My understanding is that the State owns part or all of McCoy. Skeffington et al own the PawSox. Let Skeffington buy McCoy, get it off the State books, pay Pawtucket the property taxes, refurbish McCoy which ever way he wants (who needs an owners box for a Triple AAA team?) and it’s a win-win. He doesn’t dish out $80 million (which he has no intention of doing anyway), he gets a ‘home’ for his PawSox, McCoy becomes part of the Blackstone River tourist pact, bringing more money to Pawtucket and the baseball fans are happy, the citizens who don’t go to games but expected to pick up the tab are happy and a valuable piece of land goes on the market for its true value. Providence is happy because they, like the rest of us, don’t get taxed for any loans and they don’t get taxed for more public services – fire, police, plowing around the perimeter, etc. Prov., under this deal or another (which will pretty much be the same) is getting hit with double taxation. The new Stadium holds the same number of fans as McCoy – 10,000 so there’s no loss/gain in attendance. Gina can get back to her job of governing the State, the G.A. can address the real problems facing us and Skeffington will make up his buying of McCoy by selling tickets or renting it for the annual 4th of July fireworks and such. This is a no-brainer. Gina wanted us to ‘hunker down’ during snowstorms (hey, it’s New England – we know how to hunker down!!). Now let the G.A. hunker down and address the $8.6 Billion budget and balance it – that’s their job, not a Stadium.

  2. Why would Skeffington want to own McCoy when he thinks he can get a new stadium and not pay property taxes on it?

  3. Why would anyone choose to own a “used” stadium sandwiched between a strip of run-down industrial buildings and blocks of less-than-sexy three family homes when he could get a new ballpark on the waterfront? Which one is easier to find, and is more likely to get more fans with more money to buy more tickets? I’ve lived 40 years in and around Pawtucket so it’s not a bad town, and I am not bad-mouthing that part of town, but I’d take Providence waterfront over Pawtucket any day of the week.