SBD/September 23, 2013/Franchises

Red Sox, Boston Agree On Use Of Streets Near Fenway As Long As Team Stays At Ballpark

Part of Yawkey Way was turned into a ticket gate and outdoor food court
The Red Sox will pay the city of Boston $7.3M "under a new deal that allows the baseball club to close off part of Yawkey Way on game days for concessions and grants air rights over Lansdowne Street for as long as the team plays at Fenway Park," according to Callum Borchers of the BOSTON GLOBE. The Red Sox "first leased the public property in 2003 and have paid an average of $183,000 annually." That agreement "expires this year." The new deal is "not a lease but rather a sale of the Lansdowne air rights and of a limited easement on Yawkey Way." The Red Sox "will make 10 annual payments of about $734,000 over the next decade," and after that "will no longer have to make payments." The team turned part of Yawkey Way "into a ticket gate and outdoor food court." Use of Lansdowne Street and Yawkey Way generates about $4.5M in annual revenue, "which the Sox share with their food vendor, Aramark, and other teams" under MLB's revenue sharing program. Boston Redevelopment Authority Exec Dir Peter Meade, whose agency has received the Red Sox' payments, had said going into negotiations that the team "would have to increase its payments." The Red Sox "asked for permanent access to the streets." Both parties "appeared to get something close to what each wanted." Team President & CEO Larry Lucchino said that the deal is "'fundamental' to the team’s ability to stay at Fenway." Lucchino: "It’s unlikely that if we were not able to make the kind of improvements that these two projects represent that we would have found a viable way to stay there" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/21). Outgoing Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, in backing the deal, said the Red Sox have "paid more than" $28M in taxes and generated nearly $2B in visitor spending since '03. In Boston, Antonio Planas noted the city "will not ... get a cut of the money the Sox make from Lansdowne Street and Yawkey Way, as officials had once hoped." The neighborhood will "get $100,000 a year for beautification projects for 10 years" (BOSTON HERALD, 9/21).
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