PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) – The price tag tied to the professional soccer stadium project in Pawtucket has increased nearly 50% to $124 million, according to city officials and private developers.
Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien and Fortuitous Partners’ Brett Johnson issued a news release last week, saying inflation and supply chain issues are to blame for the ballooning cost. The 10,000-seat soccer stadium, first proposed in 2019 as part of a broader development dubbed “Tidewater Landing,” was initially expected to total $83 million. That means costs have since grown by $41 million.
“The world is very different than it was when we announced Tidewater Landing two and half years ago,” Johnson said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing our work with Rhode Island Commerce, state leaders and the City of Pawtucket to finalize the remaining details of the project, and continue construction on the site.”
To address the rising costs, Fortuitous said it will commit another $25 million toward Phase 1 of the overall mixed-use development, which would include the stadium, 435 housing units and a 150-space parking garage.
The developer is also seeking revisions to its Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) deal – a financing mechanism that would fund the public’s investment through tax receipts generated by the development.
But it remains unclear whether there’s any buy-in yet from state leaders to dish out more taxpayer money from Rhode Island coffers. Last year, R.I. Commerce Corp. officials estimated the overall project would cost taxpayers $46.2 million, including $36.2 million from a bond issued as part of the TIF, along with another $10 million through one of the state’s incentive programs.
The Commerce Investment Committee – which oversees the state’s tax incentives programs – met in executive session to discuss Fortuitous on Wednesday, though it appears no vote was taken on how to proceed.
A spokesperson for Fortuitous and the city did not immediately respond to phone calls seeking comment. A spokesperson for Gov. Dan McKee said his administration “continues to engage the board of the Commerce Corporation and the General Assembly on potential solutions.”
“While costs have increased significantly, the commitment to the project being supported by taxes and other revenues generated strictly within the zone around the stadium remains the same,” Johnson said in the news release. “Consistent with our approach since inception of this project, we continue to work with the city and state to prioritize and wherever possible, enhance, taxpayer protections.”
Grebien was bullish about moving the project forward, saying there have been weeks of negotiations between city, state and Fortuitous officials.
“As I have stated before, we have been working diligently with Fortuitous and the state on a way to continue to revitalize Pawtucket’s riverfront and provide access to public amenities that our residents and visitors deserve,” Grebien said in a statement.