Red Sox reveal Fenway Park renovation plans

Major League Baseball (MLB) club the Boston Red Sox has revealed renovation plans for its Fenway Park home, as well as providing further details behind the proposed new performing arts centre to be located adjacent to the ballpark.

The Boston Globe newspaper, citing a letter of intent submitted to city planning officials, said the Red Sox are proposing renovations to the bleacher section at the iconic Fenway Park, along with a new function room aimed at providing “sweeping views” of the stadium.

The letter from Red Sox owner Fenway Sports Group (FSG) was signed by Jonathan Gilula, the team’s executive vice-president of business affairs. Concerning the bleachers, Gilula wrote that the proposed upgrades include “a new area connected to the back of the ballpark’s bleachers that will feature concession stands, restrooms, and other elements designed to enhance the fan experience in the bleachers.”

He added: “Additionally, the Fenway Park Improvements would include a new function space with sweeping views of Fenway Park suitable for large groups and private events. The Interior Renovations would modify existing spaces to enable them to be shared between the operators of Fenway Park and the Fenway Theater (including a shared lobby, commissary, loading dock, trash and utility areas).”

Red Sox spokeswoman Zineb Curran told the Globe that the plans are still at an early stage, but added: “The bleacher structure has existed since the ballpark’s opening in 1912, however, it has changed shape through the years.

“The current bleacher footprint was created in 1934 when the seats were originally wooden slat boards (similar to a gymnasium bleacher). In 1983, the last of the wooden boards were swapped out for seats. The current green plastic seats were installed in 2007.”

Plans for Fenway Theater were first disclosed in September, when FSG partnered with Live Nation. The Fenway Theater has been proposed for construction on land adjacent to Fenway Park and behind the bleachers, commonly known as the Triangle Lot, located on the corner of Lansdowne and Ipswich Streets.

Formal design plans and development timelines for the arena are in process, and the facility would have a capacity of approximately 5,000.

In his letter, Gilula wrote that the centre “would host a wide variety of entertainment and civic events on a year-round basis, enlivening the Lansdowne Street entertainment district on both Fenway Park event days and non-event days and providing a steady stream of patrons for the neighbourhood’s many restaurants and retail establishments.”

The city’s planning and development agency told the Globe that an extensive public review of the proposals is set to take place next year.

Image: Eric Kilby