Remediation Needed for Pawtucket USL Stadium Site

Pawtucket Soccer Stadium rendering December 2019

The site of a proposed Pawtucket USL stadium along the Seekonk River requires environmental remediation, a problem that project stakeholders say they are working to address.

Brett Johnson of Fortuitous Partners 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 across the river and additional development at the downtown Apex property.

The site slated for the stadium is owned by National Grid, which will be responsible for remediation for 23 acres, including 11 targeted for the stadium project. It has been known for years that the site will require an extensive remediation, as gas was manufactured there beginning in 1880s and the property was fenced off after large amounts of toxic waste were discovered in the ground in 1996–about 30 years after the plant permanently closed. Fortuitous is seeking to enter into a long-term lease for the property with National Grid, which would cover the costs of its remediation without using public funds.

Meanwhile, the city owns land to the north of National Grid’s property, including six acres sought for the stadium project. Pawtucket officials say that they are unsure what the public cost of remediation for the city’s portion of the site will be, but that that information should be discovered during the due diligence process for the project. More from The Providence Journal:

National Grid spokesman Ted Kresse said the soccer stadium concept outlined a week ago appears to fit in with the remediation plan National Grid submitted in August. The utility will need more specific information to know for sure.

“We think it is possible to get the remediation done on the timeline the developers are hoping for to get their stadium construction started,” Kresse said. “We believe this would be a good use of that site and are looking forward to working with the city and developers to make it happen.”…

“The city has some remediation to be completed on its parcel, while National Grid will be capping the majority of their site where polluted materials may also need to be removed,” Wilder Arboleda, spokesman for Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien, wrote in an email. “While it is too early to determine how much the public investment associated with the city parcel will be, this will be done so as due diligence proceeds. The public investment does not include any clean up on National Grid’s site as National Grid is responsible for the cost of clean-up on the property that they own.”

Cleanup work requires a sign-off from the state Department of Environmental Management.

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. Fortuitous is seeking to open the $45-million, 7,500-seat stadium in time for the 2022 USL Championship season.

RELATED STORIES: Proposed Downtown Pawtucket USL Stadium Moving Forward; USL Stadium Could be Part of New Downtown Pawtucket Development

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