New England Revolution Eyeing Move to Dorchester’s Bayside Expo Center
UMass officials are reportedly in preliminary talks with the Kraft family regarding the possibility of moving the New England Revolution to the former site of the Bayside Expo Center near the UMass Boston campus in Dorchester.
The UMass Building Authority is currently redeveloping the waterfront site into a student parking lot, but would change its plans should talks with the Krafts proceed. UMass spokesman Robert Connolly said the school was exploring long-term options for the property, and share with the Krafts a “desire to create new opportunities for our students and for the Commonwealth.”
“We expect this process to continue to unfold and are confident that what emerges at Bayside will advance our mission and will be a source of pride for UMass and the community,” Connolly told the Dorchester Reporter. “We have not made any decisions and agree that any use must have a positive impact—just as UMass Boston has so clearly has had a major impact locally and is now responsible for a $1.1 billion statewide economic impact.”
UMass purchased the property for $18.7 million in 2010 after the Bayside Expo Center went into foreclosure. The Globe reports that any deal would include a long-term lease and Robert Kraft, who owns both the Revolution and the Patriots, agreeing to privately fund the sports complex.
Though Dorchester’s elected officials blasted the idea in the Reporter over the potential traffic congestion in an area already mired in it, a spokesperson for Mayor Marty Walsh said City Hall was “open” to a conversation on the matter.
As the Globe notes, the Kraft family has a longstanding relationship with the UMass system: Bob Kraft received an honorary degree from UMass Boston in 2007, while his late wife Myra served as a trustee from 1994 to 1998. UMass President Marty Meehan is a Patriots season ticket holder.
The Revs, who currently play at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, had previously shown interest in building a soccer stadium in Revere, accessible from Boston via the MBTA’s Blue Line, as well as Roxbury and Somerville. If built, the stadium at the Bayside site would be a short walk from the Red Line’s JFK/UMass stop.