Discussions on a proposed New England Revolution stadium in Dorchester have ceased, as the franchise ultimately could not come to terms on its preferred site.
Revolution owner Robert Kraft has sought to move the franchise out of Foxboro’s Gillette Stadium and into a soccer-specific venue in the Boston area. The club had zeroed in on the site of the former Bayside Expo Center, a property owned by the University of Massachusetts.
Along the way, a handful of elected leaders–including governor Charlie Baker–expressed their willingness to work with the Revolution on the proposal. However, there had been concerns about whether the site could support the stadium, and fears that the facility’s construction would lead to traffic issues. A handful of officials were skeptical of the plan for that reason, and the Revolution also ran into problems when attempting to acquire a nearby parcel that is not controlled by UMass. More from The Boston Globe:
“I think it’s well documented that there had been conversations over time about the potential for a stadium-anchored development at the site,” UMass spokesman Jeff Cournoyer said Thursday night. “It doesn’t appear feasible at this point.”
The Krafts and UMass were discussing a scenario in which the Kraft Group would enter into a long-term lease for the site, with the team ownership privately financing the project. But they couldn’t come to an agreement on a price with the Boston Teachers Union, which owns an adjacent property that was needed for the stadium.
While the teachers union property was considered important to the deal, discussions also involved using just the 20-acre Bayside Expo property for the stadium.
However, the project also ran into resistance from local officials, who worried that traffic could overwhelm the already congested area. Critics included US Representative Stephen Lynch, state Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, and state Representatives Nick Collins and Dan Hunt.
“The original proposal to put a soccer stadium out there would have been disastrous for South Boston and Dorchester,” said at-large City Councilor Michael Flaherty, who lives in South Boston. “There’s only so much one neighborhood can handle. For those guys to put the stadium over there, I think, was shortsighted.”
It seems likely that the club will now continue to explore its stadium options by considering other sites. MLS has made a push for more soccer-specific stadiums, most of which are smaller than Gillette Stadium, where the Revolution have played since 2002. The Revolution and Seattle Sounders FC are the only MLS clubs that currently play in stadiums that also have NFL tenants, though the StubHub Center in Los Angeles is slated to host the Chargers on a temporary basis beginning this fall.
Photo from the New England Revolution home opener, 2014, via flickr.com.
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