The Kraft Group recently confirmed it could invest as much as $400 million in a new New England Revolution stadium, foreshadowing what will be a costly project.
The Revolution currently play at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, shared with the NFL’s Patriots. The Kraft family, which controls the Revolution and the Patriots, has previously made efforts to move the MLS club out of Gillette Stadium and into a smaller, soccer-specific venue somewhere in or closer to Boston’s core. Thus far, that goal proven to be elusive—a hard push to build at the site of the former Bayside Expo Center in Dorchester fell through in 2017 when negotiations ended—and there are still many questions as to how a future stadium proposal could take shape.
While the Kraft Group has yet to confirm where it will next look to build a soccer-specific stadium, it did indicate recently that it could invest as much as $400 million in the project. The figure would be relatively high for a soccer-specific stadium project but reflects some of the realities the group faces in its pursuit. More from The Boston Globe:
But during a fan event last weekend, Revs team president Brian Bilello offered some reassurance that the hunt remains very much alive. Snippets from the event emerged on Twitter, including the mention of a new price tag. A spokesman confirmed that the Kraft Group is now willing to invest as much as $400 million in a roughly 20,000-seat soccer stadium. The location? Sorry, everyone. That remains a mystery.
Should this project happen, it now appears almost certain that it will eclipse Gillette in terms of construction costs.
Granted, the Krafts opened their football stadium in 2002. But they spent roughly $350 million back then to build a much larger stadium, with its capacity for nearly 66,000 people.
Blame rising construction expenses. But don’t forget the Krafts’ desire to be in a high-profile location in or near Boston’s inner core. Real estate costs inevitably will be part of the equation.
A cost of $400 million would be high in comparison to other MLS soccer-specific stadium projects—the $250 million it cost to build Minnesota United FC’s brand-new Allianz Field is generally closer to the going rate, while a new FC Cincinnati stadium is expected to fall within the same price range—but there are a few challenges that the Krafts have to take into account. Construction costs are increasing, and the Boston market is one where adequate land for a project of this scope is scarce, which will surely drive up the cost of obtaining property. A club that recently went through a similar challenge was D.C. United, which searched the greater District of Columbia area for years for a new stadium site before completing the Audi Field project in Buzzard Point last summer for $400 million.
Thus far, the Audi Field project has been on the higher end of the MLS soccer-specific stadium price range, but the Revolution’s facility project seems all but certain to match—if not exceed—that figure. It is also unlikely that the Kraft Group will be the last MLS operators to take rising construction costs and expensive land acquisition into account when planning to invest in a new soccer-specific stadium, as New York City FC’s investors could face similar challenges once they are finally able to secure a new stadium in one of the city’s five boroughs.
Image, which reflects previous Dorchester stadium plan, courtesy New England Revolution.
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