Polar Park will Blend Worcester Pride, Fenway Style and 21st-Century Tech
In a metro region that has been exploding with new commercial and residential real estate projects for some time now, it isn’t easy for any new development to make a real splash. Over in Worcester, though, the in-development Polar Park – which will serve as the new home stadium for the Red Sox triple-A affiliate, the Pawtucket Red Sox – is making a big one long before it is slated to host any games. WorcesterRealEstate.com has been following the exciting developments in Worcester’s Canal District, including the new ballpark, and we have the latest information for you below.
After calling McCoy Stadium home for many decades, the PawSox, as they are affectionately known, officially announced their upcoming move in August 2018. The team’s new stadium, which will seat upwards of 10,000 fans, will essentially be the cornerstone of an overarching Canal District transformation. Several other outlying elements are being planned in conjunction with the new stadium to produce a cohesive and appealing final result. For example, a new hotel will be built to overlook the park, and restaurants, apartments and retail will seamlessly blend to produce a major entertainment destination.
Groundbreaking on the new ballpark started this past summer, and the first games are expected to be played there in 2021. In the meantime, developers have been working closely with the team and with fans and locals to ensure that everyone is happy. This has meant adopting a style that includes various elements. For example, the city of Worcester and its history will be well represented throughout the grounds. The architect behind Polar Stadium, Somerville-based D’Agostino Izzo Quirk Architects, has also been instrumental in the modernization of Fenway Park, so Polar Park is expected to employ many “Fenway-esque” elements that fans are sure to find familiar.
On top of all of that, the new ballpark is being designed with the latest technologies in mind. To ensure that the park is as fully modern as can be – after all, it is slated to be the fourth-most expensive minor league ballpark ever built – developers have teamed up with the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Starting next year and through the year 2023, that organization will take steps to develop and include the latest technologies into the design and operation of the park. One idea that has already been floated around calls for the development of an app that users can use to easily plan and find parking; to find specific types of concessions; and to enjoy special offers and promos.
Many people don’t realize it, but Worcester has played a crucial role in the history of baseball in the United States. It is fitting, then, that the city has poured so much money into the development of Polar Park, which gets its naming rights from the wildly popular local beverage, Polar Seltzer. Between 1880 and 1882, for example, Worcester boasted a National League baseball team. During its first year, pitcher Lee Richmond threw the first perfect game in Major League Baseball history during a game at a baseball park at the city’s agricultural fairgrounds. Additionally, Ted Williams hit his first homerun as a Boston Red Sox while playing an exhibition game in Worcester against Holy Cross.
With the interesting history of baseball in Worcester more clearly understood, it’s easy to see why the developers of Polar Park have wanted to lend the park an historical ambiance – and they shouldn’t have any trouble doing so. No specifics have been cited, but odds are that shout-outs to major events in local baseball history will be included in the design of the new stadium. Several local brands, which have long histories and ties with the city, are also going to be prominently served at the new ballpark.
Not surprisingly, attendees to baseball games at the new Polar Park stadium will be able to take their pick from a wide array of Polar Seltzer beverages. Given that the stadium is named after the wildly popular local seltzer brand, this makes a lot of sense. However, Polar Seltzer isn’t the only Worcester-based brand that will enjoy recognition at the new stadium. The minor league team has partnered with Worcester-based craft brewer Wormtown Brewery and Atlas, a beverage distributor, to bring an array of locally inspired drinks to the sprawling beer menu. In addition to nationwide favorites like Budweiser, then, the park will offer craft beers from several local breweries.
Many other local businesses will enjoy a boost with the development of the new minor league baseball stadium. So far, Table Talk Pies and Coney Island Hot Dogs are already officially included in the design and layout of the new park. Chances are that several other local brands and companies will get in on the action as well. In participating, they don’t just help to drive home the fact that the ballpark is all about Worcester – they also enjoy great marketing perks and the chance to raise awareness about their products.
When it is all said and done, the WooSox, as they are nicknamed by locals, will have a stadium that can comfortably seat up to 10,000 people. Roughly 7,200 to 7,500 of those will be permanent, fixed seats. The rest will be made up of flexible seating areas that will include sections that will be perfect for socializing. Developers are hoping that these areas will provide a fun place for local college students and others to get together while enjoying local beers, local food and local baseball.
The architect has ensured that the park will have a unique design that will also make it feel remarkably cozy. It essentially will be a bowl-shaped structure that will be built into a hill. The side that will face Madison Street will be at street level. When coming into the stadium off of Green Street, however, attendees will walk down into the stadium. There will be entrances all around the park, which will allow people to flow in from all sections of the city and should lend the stadium an even more central feel.
It will be a while yet before the ballpark opens for games, but many of the other new developments in Worcester’s Canal District will be open for business much sooner. The area is poised to completely transform over the next handful of years, with several mixed-use developments, residential buildings, office buildings and commercial areas in the works. By the time that Polar Stadium opens its doors and the WooSox play their first games there, this section of Worcester will be completely transformed compared to how it has been for many years.
What does all of this mean for someone who is looking to buy or rent a place in Worcester? If you would like to live near where all of the action is happening, the Canal District is probably your best bet. However, securing a place to live in such an up-and-coming area may be tricky. Connect now on WorcesterRealEstate.com for free, immediate access to our searchable MA real estate and rental listings. Limit your search to Worcester to check current availability, or contact us to be put in touch with a local real estate agent who can assist you further.