Feb 3, 2021 - Sports

Red Sox owner unveils plans to redevelop streets surrounding Fenway Park

Picture of a potential design for a new project near Fenway Park
Courtesy: WS Development

Red Sox owner John Henry is seeking city approval to build 2.1 million square feet of office, residential and retail space on eight acres of land near Fenway Park, the Boston Globe reports.

Details: The project includes plans to permanently shut down Jersey Street (currently closed on game days) to create a pedestrian plaza alongside the ballpark. A mixture of storefronts and taller buildings would line Jersey Street, according to renderings (see above).

The state of play: If approved, the Red Sox would be the latest in a long line of sports teams that have expanded beyond their stadiums and into surrounding neighborhoods through real estate development.

  • MLB owners have been particularly active on this front, as baseball's 162-game season generates heavy foot traffic and buzz throughout the summer.
  • Plus, ballparks have a certain charm that most stadiums and arenas can't touch. Fenway has an aura; you can build an entire district around that.
  • Recent examples: The Braves built the Battery next to Truist Park, the Cubs invested heavily in the Wrigleyville expansion, and the Cardinals built Ballpark Village next to Busch Stadium.

The big picture: Sports stadiums used to be standalone venues (think: in the middle of a parking lot). Nowadays, teams are increasingly treating them as anchors for larger real estate projects.

  • Team owners have leveraged their way into redesigning entire areas of American cities, becoming landlords along the way.
  • They then generate revenue through things like rent and parking fees, and watch their franchise valuations soar accordingly.
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