Lucchino: Renegotiation on Providence ballpark deal needed

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Red Sox team president and CEO Larry Lucchino, now leading the effort to build a new downtown ballpark in Providence for the Pawtucket Red Sox, told WEEI that "a wholesale renegotiation" of a lease will be needed for the project to go forward.

More questions around the plan arose after the death on May 17 of prominent R.I. businessman and PawSox owner James Skeffington, who was part of the group looking to move the team from McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket. Last month, Lucchino spelled out the benefits of the project in an op-ed piece in the Providence Journal.

In an interview Thursday with Gary Tanguay and Mike Giardi of Comcast Sports Net and Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald, who were filling in on the "Dennis & Callahan" show, Lucchino said his efforts in Pawtucket have "diverted a little bit of my attention" from the major league team.

The Providence comments begin at about the 8:50 mark here.

"None of us anticipated Jim's untimely and tragic death. I've had to play some different roles, not unlike roles I've played at the major league level before, so the tasks are familiar but it has diverted a little bit of my attention." said Lucchino, who was instrumental in the development of Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore.

"The task is the negotiation of a lease with the folks in R.I. and that's something I, and we, have done numerous times," Lucchino said. "In essence, we are taking the intital proposal that was unacceptable to the state and got a negative public reaction. The state and public officials are insisting on a wholesale renegotiation of that, and if we can do a very different kind of deal, then I think there's a chance of success.

"There has to be a significant renegotiation and the campaign to educate everyone on the kind of benefits that flow from an urban ballpark, particularly a ballpark in a city as beautiful as Providence."

Part of that campaign is a "listening tour" that will take members of the new PawSox ownership group to all 39 cities and towns in Rhode Island.

 

 

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