PAWTUCKET, RI – Governor Dan McKee, state and local officials joined Fortuitous Partners to break ground today on phase one of Tidewater Landing. Phase one of the mixed-use riverfront development project, located on the Seekonk River, includes a professional soccer stadium and entertainment venue.
"With strong taxpayer protections, this project is going to spur economic development and momentum in Pawtucket and across Rhode Island," said Governor Dan McKee. "The Tidewater Project will not only create jobs in the Blackstone Valley but it will also create a new destination for Rhode Island. I'm proud that we're breaking ground on the stadium today and our team stands ready to continue working with the developer and city to launch the next phase of this project."
"A city is more than just brick and asphalt - it is defined by what it takes pride in. Today, we are giving Pawtucket a stadium it can be proud of," said Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos. "Together, we have created a proposal that brings sports back to Pawtucket, builds housing, and protects taxpayers."
The anchor of the development is a 10,000-seat stadium that will be the home pitch to Rhode Island's new United Soccer League (USL) Championship club. The stadium will be the flagship venue for sports and entertainment in Rhode Island, hosting other sporting and community events and concerts beginning in 2024.
"Pawtucket has long been home to the world's game – soccer. We are proud to build a venue that will once again gather Rhode Islanders together to chant, cheer and stand for a club of their own," said Brett Johnson, founder of Fortuitous Partners. "We will be one of the most respected clubs in North America and serve as champions for Rhode Islanders, on and off the pitch. But our legacy will go beyond the game, and truly be what we are building together with the city of Pawtucket and state of Rhode Island in Tidewater Landing, a catalyst project for all who live here."
Pawtucket's history has long been synonymous with innovation and jobs; now so will our present and future," said Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien. "We will be able to take 25 acres of our riverfront and bring it to life – to be a place and destination for our entire state to gather and enjoy the best of Rhode Island for generations to come."
The revitalization of this riverfront destination will serve as an economic boon to Pawtucket, with hundreds more Rhode Islanders living in the district and tens of thousands of visitors attending events. Future phases of construction will include over 500 much needed housing units with ground floor retail. The project is also complimented by a $63 million Pawtucket/Central Falls Transit Center and commuter rail stop with service starting as soon as this year, along with the development of riverfront trails, providing easy access to the venue by rail, bike or foot.
Tidewater Landing is the result of over three years of close collaboration between the state of Rhode Island, the Executive Office of Commerce, the Rhode Island House and Senate, the city of Pawtucket, the Pawtucket City Council and developer Fortuitous Partners. The city of Pawtucket and state of Rhode Island issued an RFP in 2019 and selected Fortuitous as their partner after a competitive process.
"Tidewater Landing is a great example of what our mission is at the Executive Office of Commerce – to promote and encourage development of new and existing industry, commerce, business, tourism and recreational facilities in the State," said Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce Liz Tanner. "At a time in which every state is fighting to retain talent and grow local business, we will be building a much-needed civic amenity that will showcase our state to audiences around the world."
The riverfront stadium will be home to an expansion USL Championship men's professional soccer club. As the largest professional soccer organization in North America, the USL is shaping the future of soccer with the only youth-to-pro pathway for both women and men. USL Championship sits atop the men's pathway with 27 clubs competing in 2022. Rhode Island plans to begin USL Championship play in 2024 and compete in the annual Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, which was first held in Pawtucket in 1914 in front of over 8,000 attendees at Coates Field. The club has been engaging the community this past year through local listening sessions to help identify its name and crest, which will be revealed later this year.
"Rhode Island has played a vital role in the history of soccer in America, and now it is poised to play an important role in shaping the game's future here," said COO and Chief Real Estate Officer Justin Papadakis. "This momentous project will bring the highest levels of soccer back to Pawtucket and Rhode Island, and more than that, will have a tremendous positive impact on the community. This is what the USL is all about. Our clubs provide a world-class soccer experience that brings their local community together, celebrating its culture and diversity, and we know this will be no different here at Tidewater Landing."
The Tidewater site has been vacant for nearly 50 years. After decades of industrial use dating back to 1881, Rhode Island Energy invested millions to remediate the brownfield site which will be leased to the developer, opening up the land for public use and economic activity. The full project, to be financed by an expected investment of over $284 million in Pawtucket, will be built in multiple phases on two sites totaling 25 acres on both sides of the Seekonk River.