So, does having a ballpark in your backyard make your neighborhood more appealing?
Obviously, to argue it doesn’t would be sacrilegious, right?
Yesterday, Scott Van Voorhis wrote a column in the Herald talking about how the Red Sox organization is to be praised for improving The Fenway neighborhood, one that was, just a couple years ago, “a development backwater”.
The team has also bought up older buildings and sites around the ballpark, making renovations and laying plans to bring in new tenants and restaurants. Other developers watched with growing confidence and began to reshape the surrounding neighborhood with new condos, apartment buildings, bars and restaurants, shopping areas and hotels.
Hmm. I’m not sure can agree with that.
The Fenway was fine the way it was. It was “sleepy” to be sure, but neighbors (residential) were pretty happy. I mean, Fenway Park already had 34,000 seats, and the Medical Area is within half a mile away. Those things haven’t changed.
It can be tough to live there. The neighborhood is under siege for (at least) 81 days a year (remember the photos of the police marching down Boylston Street after the 2004 World Series?).
In fact, I’d say that Fenway development has arisen despite the presence of the Red Sox and Fenway Park.
Wouldn’t John Rosenthal have had an easier time getting approval of his One Kenmore development if the Red Sox weren’t next door? Wouldn’t he have been able to build a high-rise overlooking Fenway Park if Fenway Park wasn’t there? (The Sox made it clear they didn’t want anyone being able to watch a game for free off their balconies.)
The Trilogy and 1330 Boylston apartment complexes were built without any regard to the location of Fenway Park – it was more the proximity to Beth Israel, Deaconess, and Joslin & Dana Farber, in my opinion.
And, really, who but the Red Sox benefit from their tactics to keep vendors from selling their wares on the street, prior to game time? (And, try to park around there, anytime on game day. Entire streets have been blocked off to traffic (well, unless you’ve got a “official police detail” card, ha-ha).)
Plus, I don’t know how many “other developers” there are that have bought into the neighborhood or benefited from the ball club’s presence. The Red Sox, through third-parties and shell organizations, have bought up much of the available land and buildings throughout the neighborhood. A wise business decision, to be sure, but they are basically creating a monopoly on area restaurants, bars, and shops.
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