The largest economic development project in Pawtucket, RI’s history will transform the city’s waterfront with hundreds of thousands of square feet of new development, including a new professional soccer team that will compete in the USL Championship – the second division of professional soccer in the United States.
“Today is an exciting first step towards a $400 million investment in Pawtucket’s future,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “This economic development project will establish a professional soccer team from a leading national league here in Rhode Island, revitalize the waterfront and downtown and create more than 3,500 jobs. Most importantly, it will transform this area into a vibrant hub of activity like we haven’t seen in decades.”
The project, dubbed Tidewater Landing, will also include expanded waterfront access through a riverwalk park connecting downtown to the currently underutilized riverfront, a new pedestrian bridge, and other key infrastructure upgrades. In addition to a new multi-use stadium, the selected developer – Fortuitous Partners, an investment firm specializing in sports-anchored mixed-use real estate projects – is expected to include a new indoor sports complex, market-rate and workforce housing, a hotel, and commercial office space. It is estimated that the full project will create more than 2,500 direct and indirect construction jobs and more than 1,200 direct, ongoing jobs once completed.
“This is an opportunity of a lifetime for the city of Pawtucket, the Blackstone Valley, and the state of Rhode Island,” said Mayor Donald R. Grebien. “This $400 million investment in one of Pawtucket’s opportunity zones will create jobs and will be a transformative economic development at the gateway into our state. It’s a natural expansion from our beautiful Slater Mill National Park to the city’s underutilized riverfront. The Blackstone Valley is prime with development opportunities. The Fortuitous Project along with the Pawtucket/Central Falls commuter rail stop are game changers. The Fortuitous Partners’ vision aligns with what the residents of Pawtucket need and deserve. We thank Governor Gina Raimondo, Speaker Mattiello, Senate President Ruggerio, the General Assembly, CommerceRI, the City Council, the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency, and everyone who assisted in this project that will be a major catalyst for years to come.”
Fortuitous intends to finance the stadium privately, and public investment for the project will be primarily focused on infrastructure and other non-stadium components of the development plan. The total amount of the public investment (which will come from both state and city revenues) will be determined during the 120-day due diligence period. Based upon preliminary economic impact estimates over a 30-year financing period, the project is expected to pay for itself. In fact, preliminary estimates indicate that taxes received by the state and city over that period have the potential to be as much as double the public investment.
The public investment is expected to be approximately 20% of project costs (in the range of $70 to $90M total, with an anticipated $60-$80M of that total to be derived from state revenue). Final public investment will be determined based on factors such as site conditions, parking needs, and other project-specific considerations. The finalized plan will incorporate strong taxpayer protections for both the state of Rhode Island and the city of Pawtucket. Provisions will ensure the public pays for performance according to agreed upon project milestones, which will be determined in the coming months. All state investments will be made based upon completion of project phases and other project milestones.
“Tidewater Landing is a phenomenal opportunity for the city and region, and we are incredibly excited to be working with the State of Rhode Island and the City of Pawtucket to make it a reality,” said Brett M. Johnson, founder and partner of Fortuitous Partners and Co-Chairman of the Phoenix Rising Football Club. “The initiative will transform the area by maximizing Pawtucket’s many assets to create a vibrant live, work, and play environment. The proposed private investment of over $300 million will boost the economy of the Blackstone Valley, create jobs, and transform the entire community. The combination of a successful USL Championship club and the surrounding mixed-use development will make Tidewater Landing a destination of civic pride for decades to come.”
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