Brett Johnson of Fortuitous Partners is making the case for his proposed downtown Pawtucket development project that includes a new USL stadium, believing it could yield a broad economic impact.
Johnson is leading a $400-million development proposal for downtown Pawtucket, headlined by a new soccer stadium at the site of a former manufactured gas plant along the Seekonk River. The stadium would be home to a USL Championsip club, while anchoring planned development that includes apartments and retail across the river and additional development at the downtown Apex property.
Plans for the project were unveiled earlier this month by Fortuitous and Pawtucket and Rhode Island officials, and work continues to try to push it forward. Johnson is making the case for the proposal, pointing to some of the benefits he believes it could offer. Aside from allowing the presence of a new USL Championship club and stadium, Johnson believes the project could make downtown Pawtucket a more viable destination for new residents and businesses, with the venue at the anchor of a larger multi-faceted development. More from the Providence Journal:
So his vision for Pawtucket includes riverfront parks, an indoor sports center, apartments, shops, restaurants and offices in addition to a $45-million, 7,500-seat stadium. (He believes he can fill a 10,000-seat stadium and has plenty of space to expand.)
A Los Angeles resident, Johnson points to the area around that city’s Staples Center (home to basketball’s Lakers and Clippers) as the model of sports helping revitalize a downtown.
“When I first moved there 15 years ago, you would go for a game and get out of there as quickly as possible. Now people are selling their homes and moving in high-rise towers down there,” he said, laying out his vision in Providence on Thursday afternoon. “From my perspective, if you build it, they will come…. I intend on Tidewater being a place where people want to move to live, where corporations want to relocate because they will view it as a fantastic place for their employees, easy to get there by highway or train.”
“Tidewater Landing,” as he’s calling it, is actually three separate sites in Pawtucket, one on either bank of the Seekonk River south of Route 95 and the Apex property just north of the highway.
In addition to the stadium, the project would include new apartments and retail across the river as well as offices, a hotel, conference center, and an indoor sports center at the downtown Apex property. The project is expected to call for $70-$90 million in public assistance via tax increment financing, which would primarily go toward covering infrastructure improvements.