It appears that a potential Pawtucket USL stadium could be tied to a larger downtown project, as a group proposing to bring USL to the city is touting plans for a $400-million development.
There have been signs linking Pawtucket and the USL for months, the result of a proposal by Brett Johnson of Fortuitous Partners. Johnson, who is also co-governor of USL Championship’s Phoenix Rising FC, submitted a plan to Pawtucket and Rhode Island officials earlier this year that calls for the construction of a downtown soccer-specific venue for a USL club along with redevelopment of the McCoy Stadium site. This comes as officials consider the future of McCoy Stadium beyond the departure of Minor League Baseball’s Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League), who are relocating to Worcester, MA following the 2020 season.
That evaluation process remains ongoing, but some newly uncovered information could shine a light on what Fortuitous is planning. The firm has touted its pursuit of a $400 million initiative in Pawtucket as part of its strategy for Opportunity Zones, and Valley Breeze tracked down a rendering on the company’s website that appears to show a soccer-specific stadium in downtown Pawtucket as the anchor of new development (shown below).
Fortuitous has not been named the winner of the ongoing bidding process, and specifics of its plans for Pawtucket have not been formally announced, but the rendering could at least offer some preliminary idea of what the firm plans to pursue. More from the Valley Breeze:
Though the rendering appears to be missing some downtown features and shows mountains in the background, it seems to show a soccer stadium where the Tidewater Gas Works manufactured gas and electricity facility across from the Festival Pier on the Seekonk River, as well as separate development at the Apex site on the other side of the Pawtucket River Bridge. If the rendering is accurate, it also shows development at 45 Division St., a parcel the city has long sought to redevelop. Both the Pawtucket River Bridge and Division Street Bridge are shown in the rendering.
Johnson told The Breeze by email that because the process is still ongoing, the company is holding off on responding to any inquiries at this time.
“We are incredibly excited about the possibility of working with the state of Rhode Island and the city of Pawtucket to make our proposal a reality,” he said. “If we are fortunate enough to be selected, we plan to engage with the news media, and the larger community, in a comprehensive, transparent and proactive way.”
The Fortuitous Partners rendering is located on a webpage explaining federal opportunity zones, where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. The apparent proposed development in downtown Pawtucket is located within such an opportunity zone.
The bid from Fortuitous was one of six to be submitted in response to the a request for proposals. Exactly how this process will play out remains to be seen–and among the other bids, two call for continued use of McCoy as a home for professional baseball–though there are some signs that Fortuitous could make professional soccer a focal point in broader plans for downtown Pawtucket.
Image of USL action courtesy USL and Orange County SC.