The project, which is subject to change, is being billed as the largest development in Pawtucket history and something that will generate more revenue than the PawSox would have created if they stayed in Rhode Island with a new stadium.

New York-based Fortuitous Partners plans to fund the construction of the soccer arena for a United Soccer League, while a revenue stream from various state and municipal taxes over 30 years (estimated at between $70 million to $90 million) will help to pay for infrastructure improvements, Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor said. The General Assembly passed legislation creating the tax incremental financing zone for Pawtucket earlier this year.

If the preliminary plan comes to fruition, it will mark a dramatic reversal of fortune for a former industrial powerhouse facing various challenges, including the loss of its trademark Triple A baseball team, the PawSox, to Worcester next year.

“This is an opportunity of a lifetime for the City of Pawtucket, the Blackstone Valley and the state of Rhode Island,” Pawtucket Mayor Don Grebien said in prepared remarks. “This $400 million investment in one of Pawtucket’s opportunity zones will create jobs and will be a transformative economic development at the gateway into our city.”

The project could add many short and long-term jobs to Pawtucket.

While opportunity zones have been criticized elsewhere for benefiting rich developers at the expense of the poor, Grebien said he doesn’t see a down side to the utilization of the opportunity zone in Pawtucket.

Gov. Gina Raimondo, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio joined Grebien in unveiling the development project.

Ruggerio and Raimondo, meanwhile, praised Grebien for his tenacity in advocating for Pawtucket. "He has been like a dog on a bone," Raimondo said.

Besides the TIF legislation passed by the General Assembly, and the Trump administration's Opportunity Zone program, Fortuitous Partners Principal Brett Johnson called Rhode Island the top soccer market in the U.S. without a professional soccer team.

“The state of Rhode Island is the best market in the country without professional soccer," said Johnson, a Brown University alum. "The ability for us to build this community and invest hundreds of millions of dollars and create thousands of jobs is going to have an impact for decades to come."

He said Rhode Islanders will get a chance to name the new soccer team.

“We’re going to open it up to the community," said Johnson, who is co-chairman of Phoenix Rising, the top soccer team in Arizona. "I’ve got some thoughts, but again at the end of the day, this is the community’s asset, so I want to have the name and I want to have ultimately the logo crowd-sourced from the community of Rhode Island.”

He said ticket prices for the team will start at about $8.

The Fortuitous proposal includes three components:

-- A soccer arena at the Tidewater site, some of which is owned by National Grid. Plans call for a nearby park, retail/restaurant and parking. The team is expected to begin playing in 2022.

-- Nearby development on Division Street is slated to include new housing, retail/restaurant, a pedestrian bridge and a riverwalk park.

-- Finally, the Apex site, which is currently privately owned, is targeted an indoor sports event center, a hotel, conference center and commercial real estate. Pryor said talks about acquiring the site are continuing and that using eminent domain would only be considered as a last resort. He said the project could be reconfigured if the Apex site ultimately proves unavailable.

A crowd of well-wishers turned out for the announcement of the project at the Visitors Center in downtown Pawtucket, illustrating the maxim that while failure is an orphan, success has many fathers.

For Grebien, the plan could offer a halo for his efforts to attract fresh development to Pawtucket. The promise of new growth also burnishes what has been a somewhat challenging year for Gov. Raimondo.

And while some blamed Speaker Mattiello for the decision by the PawSox to move to Worcester after the 2020 season, he could arguably claim vindication in the form of another compelling project crafted with legislative help.

According to its web site, Fortuitous has structured more than $2 billion in "tax advantaged investments." The company's Opportunity Fund "invests in professional sports-anchored multi-asset developments in opportunity zones throughout the United States."

Pryor said Fortuitous Development will now proceed with a 120-day due diligence review for the proposal.

Besides finalizing the preliminary plan, Fortuitous needs to raise the money to build its arena, and the company needs to acquire part of the real estate for the project.

“You know, there’s work to be done," Raimondo said, "but we feel all these challenges are very surmountable and we’re looking forward to playing the first soccer game in 2022.”