Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza considers Victory Place -- offered in April as an alternative ballpark site for the PawSox -- a potential home for the Triple A team, even though Lifespan acquired it earlier this month.
"That's a site that has been vacant for many years, it's right on the side of the [I-95] highway," Elorza said Monday in an interview with RIPR. "If they are interested or if they are looking into any other sites, you're going to have to ask them."
Victory Place is on the edge of Providence's Jewelry District. It's bordered by Point, Hospital, Richmond , Eddy and Globe streets.
In ruling out the I-195 site on Saturday, PawSox spokeswoman Patti Doyle said the team would not draw any limitations on its search for a new ballpark site.
On Monday, Doyle said via email, "We remain open to options in RI and elsewhere but aren't focusing on any specific site in a public way."
Lifespan spokeswoman Jane Bruno declined to directly comment when asked if Lifespan is open to considering a ballpark at the Victory Place site. Via email, Bruno said, "There are no active talks going on and there are no immediate plans for the site."
In related news, opponents of using public dollars to establish a Providence stadium followed through on Monday on a pledge to try to block such an approach through the City Council.
According to subsidy opponent Sam Bell,
The ordinance reads as follows: No stadium or athletic facility shall be a permissible use of the land designated on May 1, 2015 as Parcel P4 in the I-195 District. Every new stadium constructed in the city of Providence after May 1, 2015 shall pay property tax at the full commercial rate on the assessed value. No public money from the City of Providence shall be used directly or indirectly to subsidize or otherwise provide any financial benefit to any new stadium.
The PawSox, who have faced declining attendance for years at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, cited population density as part of the reason why they initially targeted the I-195 site. That's why Victory Place might be appealing as an alternative.
Elorza said the city's support for a stadium will remain contingent on Providence being repaid for direct and indirect costs. He added, "The other principle that guides my thinking on this, on the stadium, is, how much is this going to produce additional development?
The mayor indicated he views a ballpark at Victory Place as something that could promote broader economic development in the area.
"You look at other cities that have minor league stadiums and the ones that do it successfully and in a way that catalyzes even more development -- it's usually when the same business group or the same business owners they create a redevelopment fund, or they invest in that neighborhood," Elorza said. "So that's something that I'm very interested in. I want to make sure that it's not just about one isolated project. I want to see what this impact is going to have on a development area as a whole."
This post has been updated.