SBD/May 29, 2013/Facilities

BRA Looking To Extend Street License Deal With Red Sox Despite Critics

The Boston Redevelopment Authority has "decided to negotiate an extension of the deal that enables the Red Sox to turn part of Yawkey Way into a private outdoor food court on game days, despite a warning from the state inspector general’s office that it might not have legal standing to award a new license," according to Callum Borchers of the BOSTON GLOBE. The BRA’s "control over the street, which runs out at the end of this baseball season, is based on a determination that Yawkey Way is an area of 'urban blight' and in need of redevelopment." James Masterman, the attorney advising the BRA on Yawkey Way, said that the Red Sox' financial gain "is merely a side effect of the BRA’s effort to enhance the neighborhood," and added that the "public is the primary beneficiary." Former Massachusetts Inspector General Gregory Sullivan "reached a different conclusion late last year, when he wrote a letter to the agency arguing that a Yawkey Way license should be given by the city government -- not the BRA, which technically operates independently -- to the winner of a competitive bid process or granted to the Sox through special legislation." The license agreement between the BRA and the Red Sox -- which also includes the Green Monster seating section -- "has proven to be a windfall for the ballclub." The annual license fee, originally set at $165,000 for the '03 season, has "increased with the local consumer price index, rising by a total of" 28% to about $210,000 this year. Meanwhile, the Red Sox said that they have "routinely grossed more than" $2M in concession sales on Yawkey Way, and the Green Monster section now yields $3.9M "in gross ticket revenue, three times what it produced in the deal’s first year" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/28).
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