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Court upholds turn over of Jersey Street to the Sox; says BPDA doesn't have to put land sales out to bid

The Supreme Judicial Court today dismissed a lawsuit by a Revere lawyer challenging the way Boston gave the Red Sox permanent access to Jersey Street, saying he was not directly harmed by the sale and so had no "standing" to sue.

In its ruling, the state's highest court also upheld a state law that says once a redevelopment authority gains control of land, it is exempt from laws that would normally require the land to be put out to bid for disposition.

The then BRA temporarily took over Boston's ownership of the road in 2003 via its power of eminent domain, after it declared the area around Fenway Park "blighted" - the court reminds us, that before the current ownership group took over the Sox, Fenway was in poor shape and it was largely surrounded by parking lots and decrepit warehouse and commercial buildings. The taking let the BPDA allow the Sox to close the street on game days to help draw in fans and more revenue.

In 2013, with the Sox a bit more successful and redevelopment of the Fenway area well underway, the BPDA said it would sell the Sox the permanent rights to the road as a way to keep the area from ever again becoming blighted. Before it signed the deal with the Sox, the authority rejected a request by Joseph Marchese to put the rights out to bid - he wanted to submit his own bid to redevelop the then Yawkey Way into a tourist attraction.

Marchese sued. The court said today that because Marchese was neither a Jersey Street landowner, did not have any business interests in the street already that would be harmed by the BRA/Sox deal and certainly had no guarantee he would win rights to the road even if the authority did put the road out to bid, he did not have a legal leg to stand on.

But even if he did, the court said, state law exempts "urban renewal agencies," such as the BRA/BPDA from public bidding requirements for land sales, so there was nothing wrong with it simply deciding to sign a deal with the Red Sox without considering his proposal. The court added this also applies to Marchese's argument that by 2013, the area around Fenway Park was no longer blighted, nor in any danger of becoming so:

Even if, as the plaintiff alleges, the [bidding] process was misused by the BRA because the area surrounding Fenway Park was no longer blighted, this would not have meant that the Yawkey Way easement would have been required to be put out to bid, or that the plaintiff would have been entitled to operate concessions on Yawkey Way.

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Comments

I assume this applies to Van Ness as well, which the Sox close to traffic for games.

It really shocks me that Van Ness (including its sidewalk next to Fenway Park) can be used as what seems to be a player's parking lot. Fire and emergency access is clearly compromised by this arrangement.

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Voting closed 8

Problem is none of these people actually LIVE in the Fenway, the neighborhood they barter, trade and develop in their own financial interest.

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Another reason to get rid of the BRA - an out of control agency that does anything it wants. (And sorry, just because you rename it with Planning in the name, doesn't mean they plan anything)

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They are corrupt but it worked out in this case. Drinking a beer on Jersey Street before a game is a hell of a lot better and safer than having it full of cars from the suburbs.

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But when those of you who can afford to go to Red Sox games at Fenway are drinking beers on Jersey Street, you are surrounded by people from the suburbs who took cars (at least partially) to get there.

I hope you remember that your next trip down that way.

It didn't work out because the bidding was stacked in FSG's favor. There's no way the city is getting fair rents on that deal. Essentially, John Henry and crew are taking money from us. Of course, Liverpool are undefeated after 4 matches, so I might be able to abide if that's where the money saved went, but if they hit a midseason slide or sell Mo Salah, fuck em.

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Voting closed 7

The fact the Sox own the damn street now and haven't done anything improve it speaks volumes about how little they care. Other developers are turning parking lots into parks and doing everything possible to make sidewalks inviting places that make people want to visit an area. John Henry is just too poor to spend a dime creating a voonerf or at the very least pay someone to repair and power wash the sidewalks once in awhile.

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Voting closed 6