Boston Globe Story From April, 2021: Brand-new Polar Park is ready to go, but will it be a good deal for Worcester?

 Good read

 

  •  As lessees of Polar Park for the next 30 years, the WooSox will reap nearly all of the revenue from tickets, concessions, advertising, broadcasting rights, and merchandise. The team is responsible for most operating costs.
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    “We’ve been able to attract a fair amount of development because of the ballpark, and that is going to help us pay for our share of the ballpark,” said Worcester’s city manager, Ed Augustus,

    “We created a DIF [District Improvement Financing] district to capture the revenue from retail and these properties and a new incremental increase in taxable value to fund that, as well as some of the parking we have.

    “Those two sources are the way we’re paying for our piece of it. The conservative projections have it netting out at the end of 30 years for the bonding to be positive by $20 million-$25 million. 
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    Augustus said that economic forecast was made before two other parcels became part of the project, including the relocation of the 4-acre Table Talk company’s site directly adjacent to the right-field side of the ballpark. That development plus another, said Augustus, means “we’re expecting that [$20 million-$25 million] figure to become more robust through the years.”

 


 

 



Comments

Anonymous said…
I have always read articles with a some spectacism, especially when the author reports only one side of the event, in this case the City Manager's. That couple with the fact it is in a paper owned by the owner of the Boston Red Sox I am very hesitant to take the story as gospel.

Prior to the pandemic, the non residential portion was going to be a tough sell. After the pandemic, the hotel has been scaled back, and the office building development is looking for a tenant. I am not seeing a lot of Fortune 500 companies beating down the door to relocate to Worcester at this moment in time, so the likelihood that this plan will gather some dust is relatively high.

Residential construction or the conversion of commercial buildings to residential units has been a trend in the City for 20 years. This is nothing new. The issue becomes will residential construction produce enough revenue to support the bonds issued to build the over budget ballpark. Common sense says it will not and this is why the City should share their financials to show us all, in black and white, why they think this project will generate a profit. On two occasions they produced their financials, why not produce their current set?
Anonymous said…
You used to have a commenter who frequently posted " in Ed we trust". I have not seen his or her comments in quite some time. I don't think he or she believes the City Hall spin on this project anymore.
Anonymous said…
So , Table Talk property was not part of the original plan, yet there was so much that they benefited from the entire process. Very believable. Transparency would end all of the questions, but we know how that is going
Anonymous said…
Transparency at City Hall ? Never mind they can't spell it, they probably don't know what is means, or in the alternative care.
Anonymous said…
The residential development, much of it subsidized by TIFs or low income housing vouchers or historic renovation credits, was goi g to happen anyway.

Also, new residential units will create much more demand for expensive city services, so it can be a net negative. Will we need a new school? New hospital? More subsidized services? How will it impact the city’s commercial tax rate if the new residences aren’t paying the city real estate taxes despite requiring services?

Maybe we can fill some jobs with the new residents. Otherwise I’m not sure how city businesses that were forced to be closed by government order or now because they don’t have enough staff to operate will be able to pay the nosebleed high local commercial tax rate.

The commercial rate is going even higher, too. Bet on it. Except for 4 or 5 councilors, they are political cowards on thos issue despite it being a long term critical issue for the city. But then addressing the facts might not get you re-elected.