WORCESTER – The Designer Selection Board wrapped up two days of interviews Thursday with seven prospective architects for the city’s minor league ballpark project.
After interviewing three firms Wednesday and four on Thursday, the board went behind closed doors late Thursday afternoon to discuss the merits of the proposals.
In addition to the five board members, among those who participated in the lengthy interviews and discussions were several other city officials and representatives of the Pawtucket Red Sox and Skanska USA Building Inc., which has been selected as the owner’s project manager.
The Designer Selection Board will rank the proposals and make a recommendation to City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr., who will ultimately make the decision on awarding the design services contract, in conjunction with input from the team.
Christopher J. Gagliastro, chairman of the Designer Selection Board and the city’s purchasing director, said it’s possible the board will reconvene next week before making its recommendation so members can have additional time to digest all that was presented during the two days of interviews.
The Worcester Redevelopment Authority issued a Request for Qualification for design services for a minor league professional baseball park with a maximum seating capacity of 10,000.
The ballpark, to be built in the Kelley Square area as part of the overall $240 million redevelopment of that part of the city, will be the new home of the Boston Red Sox’ top minor league team starting in the 2021 season.
The seven firms that responded to the RFQ were JCJ Architecture, EwingCole, D’Agostino Izzo Quirk Architects, Sasaki Architects, Safdie Architects, Gensler Architecture/Design and The S/L/A/M Collaborative – Pendulum Studios.
PawSox Chairman Larry Lucchino said he was very impressed with the quality and experience of the design firms and the presentations they made.
“We learned something from everyone, whether it be large concepts or small details,” he said in an interview. “We have some very good options to choose from. It’s been a long couple of days but it was something that needed to be done so we can hit the ground running.”
Mr. Lucchino said he was also pleased with the progress made in selecting a project manager and moving toward hiring a design team for the project.
“We and the city seem to be in lockstep (on design issues) based on our preliminary discussions,” he said.
About 20 people participated in the interviews and questioned representatives of each firm.
People from the PawSox who participated included Mr. Lucchino, PawSox President Dr. Charles Steinberg and Dan Rea III, the team’s executive vice president/general manager.
Also participating was Janet Marie Smith, a nationally recognized baseball planning and development executive who partnered with Mr. Lucchino to create Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore and oversaw preservation and expansion of Fenway Park.
A senior vice president of planning and development for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Ms. Smith is participating with the PawSox development team on the design of the Worcester ballpark, to be known as Polar Park.