Malden Advocate Archive
Malden seriously considering minor league baseball stadium proposal
December 9, 2011
By Malden News
By Alex Bloom 
Minor league baseball coming to Malden is no longer just a vision.
Malden will seriously consider a $30-million stadium proposal for the nine-acre National Grid site at 100 Commercial Street.
Last week, stadium backers submitted the only plan for the site to the Malden Redevelopment Authority request for potential uses of the land.
If everything goes to plan — including getting neighborhood support for the plan, negotiating a lease agreement between National Grid and the stadium owners, and getting consensus on the project scope — Malden residents could attend opening day at their own 6,000-seat stadium in April 2014.
“I absolutely, positively believe these guys could build this thing on time,” said Stephen Wishoski, executive director of the Malden Redevelopment Authority.
The first steps are already under way to vet the project, submitted by the Boston Baseball Field of Dreams, LLC, as the Malden Redevelopment Authority has set up a committee to look into the proposal. The group consists of Mayor-elect Gary Christenson, Ward 4 City Councillor James Nestor, developer John Preotle, financial analyst Barry Abramson, Wishoski, Malden Redevelopment Authority Assistant Executive Director Deborah Burke, Malden’s principal city planner Michelle Romero, and accountant William Rucci.
“The response they gave us was — in my opinion — excellent,” Wishoski said of the Boston Baseball Field of Dreams proposal.
Alexander Bok, the group’s founder and president, said the group has been looking for greater Boston sites for the stadium for years. The group pushed to land the stadium at sites near Boston College High School and Bunker Hill Community College, both of which fell through.
Malden represents an ideal spot for a stadium, Bok said, because of its location — in short proximity to subway and commuter rail stops as well as Route 1 and Interstate 93. The city also has  two parking garages nearby. He expects 40 percent of all attendees will walk or take public transportation to games.
Bok sees minor league baseball as affordable family entertainment, where a family of four could buy tickets, food, and souvenirs for $100.
“It will be something that the whole family will have a great time at,” Bok said.
Bok also believes baseball presents one of the last opportunities in society for families to have quality conversations with their children. The game has many natural pauses and a lot of time to talk.
“If you want to, you can have a very great conversation with your kids,” Bok said.
A Malden team would join the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, which has eight independent teams and has had alumni that include Hall-of-Famer Rickey Henderson and former Red Sox closer Keith Foulke.
Malden would host 68 home games between late April and mid-September, bringing thousands of people each night to the stadium, surrounding restaurants and stores.
Bok sees the stadium also having a year-round restaurant and conference facilities. Wishoski said that building a stadium might also help the city attract a hotel to downtown.
“What it represents potentially to the city of Malden and downtown is that niche — the thing that nobody else around here has,” Wishoski said.
According to their website, greaterbostonballpark.com, the stadium will be modeled after Hammons Field in Springfield, Mo. Bok is joined by Pete Guiney, the plan’s senior vice president, and a board of advisors that includes John Gillespie, who helped finance other large stadiums including Denver’s Pepsi Center and Baltimore’s Camden Yards.
The group plans to finance the $30-million stadium through corporate sponsors.
Nestor, who represents the downtown area on the City Council, said he hopes the stadium could also attract high school and college baseball tournaments with its turf field. He said the stadium could be “a magnet for income into the city.”
“There’s a lot of disposable income that can go into the restaurants and the stores in the area,” Nestor said.
Bok said he understands that the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park are the toast of the town for Boston baseball fans, but said that a city with a cathedral can have a great parish church.
“It’s a way to build the next generation of baseball fans,” Bok said.
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Artist rendering of the proposed Malden Park facade.


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Malden’s Field of Dreams steps closer to reality

April 19, 2012

By Malden News

The Malden Redevelopment Authority (MRA) board met last night with the representatives from the Baseball Field of Dreams (BFOD) to hear their first progress report on the proposed minor league ballpark and the status of their negotiations with the abutting land owners and National Grid. The MRA voted in January 2012 to designate BFOD as the developers for Malden’s first ballpark venue, the site for which is the National Grid-owned parcel at 100 Commercial Street.

The site abuts three privately-owned parcels for which the BFOD intends to make commercially reasonable offers based on market conditions and independent appraisals which they had conducted.  “The objective is to come up with a game plan. I think the process is going well,” BFOD President Alex Bok said about the many components. “We see the next twelve months as being lease oriented—getting the properties under agreement, working on all the permitting, so that roughly a year from now we can break ground—followed by a year of construction and an opening in the Spring of 2014.”

BFOD has financed an $85,000 study for National Grid. ”National grid needs to understand the baseball business,” said Bok. “So we’ve put up the money to do a feasibility study so they understand the economics of baseball and negotiate a lease with us in a way that makes sense to them.”

Malden Park will have 6,000 seats, an up-to-date ballpark with 16 private boxes, a large entry plaza, a kids’ playground, a family-oriented grass picnic area and a 360° walkway around the stadium. “It would be so great to take your four-year-old and walk in a circle around the stadium. Most minor league stadiums don’t have a 360° walk, but those that do have found it very successful,” said Bok.

“We’ve been working on a number of fronts with respect to the design of the building,” Mark Rosenshein, vice president of the architectural team. “We’ve brought in a new structural engineer and mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineers, so the consulting team is now established. We’ve started working on the pieces and parts of the stadium.” Rosenshein briefed the MRA board on the design changes and unexpected challenges. “The basic parameters of the stadium remain as we described earlier, the entry plaza will be on the north end. We found out the site is 10 feet narrower than we thought, so we’ve had to refine the design a bit and push the whole thing north.”

The stadium will need a healthy perimeter around the gas pumping building, which will remain in the south corner of the block. A wall will be built to separate it from the ballpark. “While there are no official rules for the size and shape of a stadium, we don’t want the people to feel crowded. We also have to stay within the budget.” There is a lot of room under the stand, so some pieces have been relocated to the lower concourse area. “Then there is the kid’s play zone; we’ve been thinking about how to tie it into the Malden river theme. And what else we can do to make this a uniquely Malden stadium?” Rosenshein commented. He also said that they are very happy with the enthusiastic response they have received from the community. He added: “We know the community wants to be involved, and we’re trying to get big pieces in the right spots so we can give good information about how the stadium will function and where the community interactions will take place.”

City moves closer to Field of Dreams

February 10, 2012

By Malden News


Mayor Gary Christenson is shown addressing the MRA board of directors on Wednesday evening as Architect Mark J. Rosenshein, the Senior Project Manager from The Architectural Team provides a Power Point presentation. Shown standing behind the mayor at left is Alex Bok, president of the Boston Baseball Field of Dreams, LLC. (Advocate photo by Juhi Varma)

The Malden Redevelopment Authority (MRA) board of directors voted 4 to 0 (one member was absent) to give preliminary developer’s designation status to Boston Baseball Field of Dreams Wednesday night as the preferred redeveloper of the National Grid-owned parcel at 100 Commercial Street.

The vote followed a 20-minute video presentation and question and answer session with the proposed redeveloper. The video included a virtual tour of the proposed ballpark which would have 6,000 seats, a year-round restaurant, pro shop, and concession stands as well as a playground for youngsters attending the games and events. The $50 million privately financed facility would also be available for business and other meetings.

The developers are seeking a Franchise in the Independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. The league teams play a 140 game schedule, 70 of which would be home games.

Assuming prompt approvals, construction could begin by winter 2013 with Opening Day in April 2014.

Mayor Gary Christenson appeared at the meeting to voice his support. He said this was a “once in a lifetime opportunity”.

“Medford has Station Landing, Somerville has IKEA and Malden will have this ballpark which would put it on the top of the list,” said the mayor.

With the preliminary designation, this group can meet with National Grid to hammer out provisions of a sublease and to meet with the owners of three abutting parcels on Canal Street which they will also need to acquire as part of this redevelopment effort.

Ultimately, if this deal proves successful, National Grid would lease its site to the Malden Redevelopment Authority. The MRA would sublease to Boston Baseball Field of Dreams, LLC.

In its vote Wednesday night, the board is requiring the Boston Baseball Field of Dreams to come back to the board of directors in April with a progress report of their discussions with National Grid and the abutting land owners.

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