Fiscal 2023 DIF Account

We Are Back, Polar Park And Dunkin Donuts Stadium

Been real busy and needed to take a break from being called negative all the time.   

Think it is time to start covering the two main issues on this blog again:
  1. Worcester Airport
  2. Polar Park

For today lets just focus on Polar Park.  

We had two main concerns on this blog:
  1. The City of Worcester did not own the land where the park is being built
  2. We need binding private development agreements with penalties if the developer does not meet certain deadlines.
These are still are main concerns. At this point,  we still neither own the land nor have any binding private development agreements.    In the past everyone has said  that there is nothing to worry about here, but can we remind you that April 1, 2021, is now only 15 months away?  When do we become concerned???

In the words of our own consultant, Zimbalist,:

Mr. Zimbalist, the city’s consultant, said his projection that the project pay for itself counts on the $90 million in private investment anticipated in Phase I. It does not count on the development envisioned in Phase II, which includes an office building, residential development and retail.

Projections in the pro forma depicted that  by April 1, 2021, completion of Phase 1.  This consists of $90 million of private investments:

  • 450,000 square feet of development:  
  • $40M - 2 hotels; approximately 250 rooms in total 
  •  $40M – residential; 250 market rate apartments  
  • $10M - ~65k SF of retail

Does anyone think that 90$ million of private investments in Phase 1 can be done by April 1, 2021???   Of course not!!   When this does not happen, the project will not "pay for itself", so   how much will it cost the taxpayers of Worcester?

Starting to see alot of similarities here between us and the baseball field in Hartford.    Dunkin Donuts Stadium was suppose to open in 2016 along with many private development projects surrounding the park.   

The stadium did not open until 2017 and to date there has been no private development.  Hope going forward we can stop talking about this and that:

  1. We finally own the land 
  2. We have some private development agreements with deadlines and penalties that we can enforce 



Common Sense said…
I have similar concerns. This developer has stated before in a newspaper article that he has no problem holding off on projects until the market conditions are right. What does that mean when many economists think the economy could be headed South in 2-3 years? If that happens how many school teachers, police officers and fireman will be laid off to cover the the interest on the bonds. Take a drive past Lincoln Street School. It's about 100 years old, has no gym or library and is woefully inadequate to handle the current needs of technology. I did order a Woosox hoddie that arrived yesterday.
Anonymous said…
The economy is on steroids right now and the capital markets are flush with liquidity. If now isn't the time to build the private part of the development, I'm not sure that there will ever be a time to do it.

The area is rife with construction disruption, so coordinating all of the activity instead of adding new traffic and business throttling parking nightmares later is not smart.

If the provate development never gets done, what happens? At lease we'll get a ballpark and some huge surface parking lots. It'll solve the Canal District parking issues and a ballpark with parking is certainly better than what we have there now. do we pay the $90,000,000 off...?

Anonymous said…
The point of this post is 1) we do not own the land and 2) we do not have any private developer agreements.

Whether it was a ballpark or casino make no difference in this post. We just feel that it is good business to 1) own land that we are investing 110 million into and 2) have private developer agreements for the projects that are suppose to pay for it.