Friday, July 17, 2015

Judge Questions Red Sox-City 'Perpetual' Deal

Yawkey Way (FenwayNation Photo)
A 2013 deal between the Boston Redevelopment Authority and the Red Sox—a pact that gave the team "perpetual" rights to close off Yawkey Way on game days—is being questioned by Suffolk Superior Court Judge Mary K. Ames. The deal was cut during the term of late Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, and handed over those perpetual rights for a one-time payment of just $7.3 million. The agreement lets the team exclusively sell game-day food and souvenirs on the closed-off thoroughfare that is directly adjacent to the ballpark. To justify the deal, the BRA declared Yawkey Way to be "blighted"—allowing the city to skip open-bidding regulations and make a one-on-one deal with team owners. Said Judge Ames about the "blight" designation, "Rather than deterioration, there has been constant development and building of new residences and successful businesses during the past 13 years." Thus, the request by the BRA to throw out a lawsuit by a Cambridge entrepreneur was denied. If the city loses the suit, it would be a big problem for John Henry.