Fenway and blight

This is kind of funny:

Joseph P. Marchese Jr. wrote a letter to the BRA last month — one day after the Globe reported that the Sox were seeking a permanent extension of their current concession rights — saying he would pay $3 million for a 10-year contract. His offer is roughly double the annual rate paid by the Sox since the franchise began leasing the public street during the 2003 baseball season.

Marchese shared the letter with the Globe after the BRA failed to acknowledge his bid within four weeks, and said he is considering suing the agency on the grounds that he is being denied “the opportunity to be competitive and make a living.”

This is not so funny:

Cunha’s predecessor, Gregory W. Sullivan, wrote in a December letter that the BRA’s claim to rightfully control the street is dubious because it is based on a determination that the thriving area around Fenway Park is a slum in need of redevelopment. If the city grants another license after the Red Sox contract expires at the end of this season, it should conduct open bidding, he added.

The original arrangement was not subject to the state’s open bid law because the BRA — technically independent of the city government — took control of the street by eminent domain and labeled the Red Sox deal a demonstration project meant “to protect against urban blight.”

To sign another no-bid contract with the Sox, the BRA would have to exercise its eminent domain power again, maintaining that the strip of Yawkey Way is a blighted area.

The only reason Yawkey Way has had problems in the past is that the Red Sox have been such bad neighbors, not controlling their fans. I also find it interesting that the BRA is going to continue to call the area a blighted area. The whole idea behind this designation is to improve the area, if the area is still blighted then this ‘solution’ hasn’t worked and should be dropped–10 years is long enough to decide if something works isn’t it?

Of course, that isn’t the point. It’s really a gift to the Red Sox, as Marchese points out:

Marchese, who runs a law practice in Revere, contends that such a designation is “ridiculous and a means to circumvent the open bid law.”

“My take is if it’s a public way and we’re all taxpayers, we should have the same right to bid as the Red Sox,” said Marchese, a former alderman in Everett.

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