PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) – Talks are heating up around the proposals to redevelop downtown Pawtucket and McCoy Stadium, as city and state officials briefed General Assembly leaders this week on a handful of ideas under consideration.
Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor and Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien met with House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, Senate President Dominick Ruggerio and members of the Pawtucket delegation at the State House on Monday and Tuesday, Target 12 has confirmed.
Commerce spokesperson Matt Sheaff said the purpose of the meetings was to update leadership on the RFP process currently underway in Pawtucket to choose a plan to redevelop downtown and McCoy Stadium.
“We are still in the process of narrowing down the six proposals and negotiating with applicants,” Sheaff said Tuesday.
McCoy Stadium will be left empty after the Pawtucket Red Sox move the minor league baseball team to Worcester after next season. City leaders, meanwhile, have long sought more development downtown, including the area surrounding the iconic Apex department store.
The McCoy Stadium and Pawtucket Downtown RFP Review Committee last week met in executive session to consider the six proposals, and Pryor told WPRI 12 he thought a sports component would likely emerge as one element of the redevelopment effort.
Among the proposals is an idea to bring a professional soccer team to downtown Pawtucket. Non-sports proposals include the creation of a hub for the music industry and a family entertainment center with a roller coaster and play park for children.
Mattiello spokesperson Larry Berman confirmed the meeting and referred all questions to Pryor and Grebien.
The downtown and the stadium site both qualify for tax credits under a new federal economic development program known as opportunity zones, which is emerging as an integral part of whatever comes next.
The zones, created as part of the federal tax code overhaul signed by President Trump in 2017, are designed to spur private economic development investment by allowing taxpayers to defer taxes on capital gains by investing in the area.
There are multiple zones in Pawtucket, including the stadium, downtown where the Apex is located, and the area around the Stop & Shop near the intersection of Mineral Spring Avenue and Route 146.
“This process has shown us that Pawtucket is a desirable location for development and there is a lot of interest from investors, especially in our four federally designated opportunity zones,” said Grebien spokesperson Wilder Arboleda.
A final announcement is expected in the coming weeks.
Steph Machado and Tim White contributed to this report.