Under Negotiation: Worcester Yet to Finalize PawSox Deal or Obtain Deed for Ballpark Property
Dan Etna, co-chair of Herrick's Sports Law Group was quoted in the Worcester Business Journal regarding the move of the Pawtucket Red Sox to Worcester. While the team, the city and the developer of the new public stadium have been vocal regarding their commitment to this development, there is a lack of a formal agreement legally obligating the team to come to Worcester. According to the article, the minor league baseball team is scheduled to begin play in about six months, however, the city government still does not;own the property on which its ballpark sits.
The article notes that the absence of executed agreements gives the team and developer negotiating power over the city. According to the report, the construction is over budget and the coronavirus pandemic will likely affect the profitability and viability of the proposed surrounding development that includes hotels, apartments, retail and office space. As a result, Etna "speculated Madison [the developer] could be using the deed transaction as leverage to make the mixed-use project more viable."
“Perhaps the developer’s going to be able to get some sort of benefits” because the city needs a sale transaction to take place, said Etna. “The developer’s end game is not to sit there with an undeveloped project.”