Team aims for better game day for fans

Boston Herald - - OPINION - By DONNA GOOD­I­SON — dgood­i­son@boston­her­

The Red Sox’ real es­tate arm is ramp­ing up plans to re­de­velop six parcels around Fen­way Park that now in­clude park­ing lots, garages and a sports bar, in ad­di­tion to 20 acres in front of JetBlue Park at Fen­way South in Fort My­ers, Fla.

FSG Real Es­tate is eval­u­at­ing “myr­iad” uses for the sites, in­clud­ing ex­pand­ing the Fen­way Park and game-day “ex­pe­ri­ence,” ac­cord­ing to Jonathan Gilula, the team’s ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of busi­ness af­fairs, who said the goal is to com­ple­ment the ball­park and be con­sis­tent with devel­op­ment around it that’s boomed over the past decade.

“We’re en­cour­aged by the op­por­tu­nity here, and we’re very fo­cused on ded­i­cat­ing more time and re­sources to fully un­der­stand what is pos­si­ble,” Gilula said.

Parcels in play are the 73 Brook­line Ave. park­ing lot next to Bos­ton Beer Works, the 55 Yawkey Way park­ing lot, the 49 Lans­downe St. garage next to the Cask’n Flagon, the 160 Ip­swich St. garage next to Bos­ton Arts Academy, the 189 Ip­swich St. garage on the Fen­way Park side of the street and the 1265 Boyl­ston St. build­ing that houses Tony C’s Sports Bar & Grill.

Ho­tel/re­tail op­por­tu­ni­ties are among the uses un­der con­sid­er­a­tion for the Brook­line Av­enue lot, though Gilula said “noth­ing is con­crete at this point.”

FSG will de­ter­mine the “high­est and best use” for the parcels, in­clud­ing whether they en­hance the Fen­way Park and game-day ex­pe­ri­ence, he added.

“It just may not be within the foot­print of the ball­park,” he said. “We’ve seen the ben­e­fits of the Yawkey Way ex­pe­ri­ence with con­ces­sions and en­ter­tain­ment there, and I think there’s ob­vi­ously other op­por­tu­ni­ties like that.”

Cur­rent plans don’t in­clude shut­ting down other streets dur­ing games or other events a la Yawkey Way, ac­cord­ing to Gilula. Such a move wouldn’t be well-re­ceived by the Fen­way Civic As­so­ci­a­tion.

“We did get the $100,000 in beau­ti­fi­ca­tion funds for let­ting them take (Yawkey Street), but we re­ally would hate to see the ba­sic Red Sox ex­pe­ri­ence take over Ip­swich Street and Lans­downe Street,” as­so­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent Tim Horn said.

Neigh­bors and other abut­ters will be cau­tious about the team’s plans given other devel­op­ment in the area, ac­cord­ing to Richard Gior­dano, pol­icy and com­mu­nity plan­ning di­rec­tor for Fen­way Com­mu­nity Devel­op­ment Corp.

“I’m sure that peo­ple in the neigh­bor­hood would be con­cerned about all the usual things, de­pend­ing on the type of pro­pos­als of course — height, den­sity, mass­ing, traf­fic im­pacts on the com­mu­nity,” he said. “Then, of course, the uses. If it’s en­ter­tain­men­tre­lated uses, they will re­ally se­ri­ously have to con­sider the im­pact on (res­i­dents). At this point, Fen­way is in dire need of af­ford­able hous­ing, and we’re pretty limited as to what we can do.”


EN­HANC­ING THE EX­PE­RI­ENCE: The Red Sox are ex­plor­ing ways to com­ple­ment Fen­way Park in Bos­ton, above and bot­tom left, and JetBlue Park in Fort My­ers, Fla., at left, with devel­op­ment de­signed to ex­pand the game-day ex­pe­ri­ence.

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