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Telegram & Gazette (Massachusetts)
WORCESTER — The city's minor league ballpark project has drawn interest from award-winning and world-renowned architects, including those with impressive track records in the design of stadiums and other sports facilities.
Seven firms have submitted bid proposals to the city in response to a Request for Qualifications issued by the Worcester Redevelopment Authority for design and construction administration services for a professional minor league baseball park with a maximum seating capacity of 10,000.
The ballpark, which will be built in the Kelley Square area as part of an overall $240 million redevelopment of that part of the city, will be the new home of the Boston Red Sox top minor league team starting in the 2021 season.
Those firms that submitted proposals were: Safdie Architects; Sasaki Architects; D'Agostino-Izzo Quirk Architects Inc.; JCJ Architecture; The S/L/A/M Collaborative Inc. — Pendulum Studio; Gensler Architecture/Design Inc.; and EwingCole.
The city's Designer Selection Board, which is made up of city staff from various departments, will interview representatives from each of the firms next week.
Three interviews will be held next Wednesday (Oct. 10) — JCJ Architecture, EwingCole and D'Agostino Izzo Quirk Architects — while the other four firms — Sasaki, Safdie, Gensler and the S/L/A/M/ Collaborative — will be interviewed the next day (Oct. 11).
The Designer Selection Board will rank the proposals.
In a related matter, interviews were scheduled last Friday for the hiring of a project manager.
Under the letter of intent signed in August between the city and the Pawtucket Red Sox to move the team to Worcester, the city is required to hire a project manager for the stadium by Oct. 10.
Once a project manager and design team are on board, they will collaborate in the hiring of a construction manager for the project.
It is anticipated that a construction manager will be hired by Jan. 1.
Those three positions will make up what will be known as the "Ballpark Delivery Team" being assembled by the city and the ballclub.
Construction of the ballpark, which will be known as Polar Park, is slated to begin in July 2019 and be completed by March 2021.
The cost of building the stadium alone has been pegged at $86 million to $90 million, while the overall ballpark project has been estimated about $100.8 million.
The design team will be working with Larry Lucchino, chairman of the PawSox, and Janet Marie Smith, who has worked with Mr. Lucchino on the design and construction of Major League Baseball stadiums in Baltimore and San Diego, as well as renovations to Fenway Park in Boston.
It is the first time the two will be working together for a minor league baseball stadium.
While Mr. Lucchino and Ms. Smith will work on the conceptual design of the ballpark, the actual final design of the park will be done by the architect hired by the city.
The city and the ballclub will work together and participate cooperatively in joint partnership in all phases of the ballpark project, though the city, including City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. and the WRA, will have the final say on the design plans.
D'Agostino Izzo Quirk Architects is based in Somerville and provided comprehensive architectural services for the Boston Red Sox to expand and renovate Fenway Park. It was also involved in renovation projects for the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
EwingCole, which has offices in cities nationwide, designed MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the home of the NFL's New York Giants and New York Jets.
The firm also has experience with minor league baseball parks, as it was the architect for the renovation of PNC Field in Moosic, Pennsylvania, home of the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Railriders of the International League — the same league the Worcester Red Sox will be a part of.
JCJ Architecture, which has offices in Boston, Hartford, New York, Phoenix and San Diego, was the architect for the $33 million renovation of the XL Center in Hartford (formerly known as the Hartford Civic Center) in 2014.
Gensler Architecture/Design is based in San Francisco and operates offices in 46 cities in 16 countries worldwide.
It designed Banc of California Stadium, a 22,000-seat soccer facility in Los Angeles, and The Star, 25-acre multi-use complex 30 miles north of Dallas, that includes The Ford Center, a 12,000-seat, indoor multipurpose events center and training facility of the Dallas Cowboys.
Sasaki, a global design firm specializing in architecture, interior design, planning, urban design, landscape architecture, and civil engineering, provided planning and urban design for the 2008 Bejing Olympics. It won an international design competition for the 2008 Bejing Olympics Green — more than 1,700 acres of woods and wetlands and that city's largest public green space.
Safdie Architects, also based in Somerville, has branch offices, in Toronto, Jerusalem and Singapore. Safdie has designed six of Canada's principal public institutions, including the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, and Vancouver Library Square, as well as Habitat 67, which was a central feature of Expo 67 held in Montreal.
The S/L/A/M/ Collaborative — Pendulum Studio also has experience with minor league baseball parks.
It provided design services for Dunkin' Donuts Park, a 6,121-seat baseball park in Hartford, that is the home field of the Hartford Yard Goats of the Eastern League.
In its Request for Qualifications, the city has made it known that it wants to have a ballpark that can be used year-round.
"The ballpark is envisioned to be 'contextual,' and respond to the nearby railroad, entertainment district, and downtown with the architectural style complementary to the authenticity of the area without pretending to replicate neighboring historic buildings," the city's RFQ stated.
"The team and the city share a goal to provide an innovative mix of seating areas and social spaces within the ballpark to enhance the baseball experience and to provide a solid set of spaces for a variety of complementary uses. The team and the city share a goal to create a ballpark that will have year-round activities to enliven the Canal District and create a municipal facility that can host multiple programmed events," it added.
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