The neighborhood surrounding Fenway Park is seeing a lot of changes: a new billion-dollar office complex, hotels and high rises on Boylston Street, a new theater and concession area behind the right-field bleachers.
And there’s more on the way.
The owners of the Red Sox announced a new partnership Monday night to redevelop four sites that sit literally across the street — or streets — from the historic ballpark for a mix of offices, apartments, shops, and potentially a hotel.
The plans are being led by Fenway Sports Group Real Estate, a subsidiary of Fenway Sports Group, and the D’Angelo family, which owns ’47 Brand and the Red Sox Team Store on Jersey Street, in partnership with the real estate firm WS Development. Fenway Sports Group principal owner John Henry (who also owns The Boston Globe and Boston.com) says the project will have a “profound effect on the experience of Red Sox fans and all Bostonians.”
“For 20 years, our goal has been to preserve, protect, and enhance the local and national treasure that is Fenway Park,” he said. “We are excited to now fully expand our focus through our partnership with WS and the D’Angelo family as we further contribute to a neighborhood that has transformed over the past two decades.”
Many of the details still need to be worked out; the project is slated to go through the city of Boston’s development review process later this year.
But here’s what we know so far:
What is currently on the four parcels?
The project includes a total of five acres across four ballpark-adjacent lots on Jersey Street, Brookline Avenue, Van Ness Street, and Lansdowne Street.
What’s currently there? Well, at least on three of the lots, not much.
According to Red Sox spokeswoman Zineb Curran, the Brookline Avenue and Van Ness Street lots are both open-air parking lots. Meanwhile, the Lansdowne Street parcel — directly behind the Green Monster — consists of a two-story parking garage and an ATM. The venues farther down the block, such as the House of Blues and Lansdowne Pub, are not on the affected lots.
The Jersey Street parcel consists of the Red Sox Team Store and warehouse, which is owned and operated by ’47 Brand, as well as “several seasonal ballpark-related operations” and more parking, Curran said. As part of the project, ’47 Brand will continue to have a presence at the site. Fenway Sports Group has also already purchased many of the properties around Fenway Park.
Less clear is what happens to other tenants, such as the bar currently known as The Bullpen Kitchen and Tap, which is located in one of the two-story Jersey Street buildings (neither The Bullpen, the Red Sox, nor WS Development responded to questions about the future of the bar, which had been a source of public safety concerns under its previous name, Who’s On First).
What will be built on those lots?
Again, the exact vision for the project is still yet to be finalized, so many questions — like how tall the new buildings will be or whether there will be apartments and hotel rooms with views into Fenway Park — can’t currently be answered. The project developers didn’t even release renderings of their vision this week.
But they’re signaling hopes to better utilize the parcels while respecting the historic character of Fenway Park. WS Development CEO Jeremy Sclar said the project is an opportunity to create “a community-first place that adds to the fabric of this neighborhood we all love.” According to The Boston Globe, the co-developers say they’re still working out details like cost, square footage, building heights, and the specific mix of what they intend to build.
“While plans are still in development, office space, residential, retail, and possibly a hotel, along with public art and public open space will be the type of development that may be included within the five acres of site area,” Curran told Boston.com on Tuesday.
The news this week may only be the beginning of Fenway Sports Group’s development plans.
According to the Globe, they’re also considering a bigger project that would include building out over the Massachusetts Turnpike behind Lansdowne Street — similar to the massive Fenway Center project that is slated to rise up on the other side of the David Ortiz Bridge. However, as the Globe noted, so-called air rights developments are complicated and — as recent history illustrates — have a history of flops.
Still, Sclar told the Globe such an opportunity exists in the more distant future.
“We’re going to spend time really thinking about it deeply, and we’re not going to let that hold this up,” he said.
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