Fenway Park architect No. 1 among shortlisted firms for WooSox stadium

BY Zachary Comeau

Photo | Courtesy
Photo | Courtesy
A rendering of the new home of the Pawtucket Red Sox, soon to be the Worcester Red Sox.

The architecture firm that designed improvements to Fenway Park is the frontrunner to design the $90-million ballpark structure for the Worcester Red Sox.
That firm, D’Agostino Izzo Quirk Architects (DAIQ), was the designer for a $280-million capital improvement project at Fenway Park, where current Pawtucket Red Sox players and future Worcester Red Sox players hope to play someday. 
The Worcester Designer Selection Board on Thursday ranked Somerville-based DAIQ first among three shortlisted for the overall $101-million ballpark project.
In addition to Fenway Park, DAIQ is the lead design firm on a $120-million renovation of Dodger Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Ranked behind DAIQ were Sasaki Associates and Safdie Architects. Both firms have Boston-area offices and boast portfolios of residential, office and airport projects from around the world.
If negotiations with DAIQ are unsuccessful, City Manager Edward Augustus and his team will then begin talks with Sasaki and Safdie, in that order.
The three firms were shortlisted from an initial list of seven submitting bids to the city in September.
Left off of the shortened list were three firms with project portfolios including sports and recreational facilities.
According to the team, the design and construction of the ballpark would be overseen by team President Larry Lucchino and Janet Marie Smith, senior vice president of planning and development for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who partnered to create Oriole Park at Camden Yards in 1992 in Baltimore and who together oversaw a decade of improvements to Fenway Park, starting in 2002. 
The Worcester Redevelopment Authority issued the request for design services in late August shortly after the team and city announced a deal to build the ballpark in the Canal District. Necessary approvals and contracts with architects and construction firms must be in hand to start construction by July 1, according to the deal. 
The ballpark, tentatively named Polar Park after Worcester manufacturer Polar Beverages, must be complete in time for the 2021 baseball season.
The overall $240-million effort to transform the Canal District includes a partnership with Boston-based Madison Downtown Holdings to build two hotels, apartments, retail and other commercial uses intended to generate tax revenue to pay for the city's $101 million in debt taken out for the project.
The team is expected to pick up the tab for about $36 million of that debt through upfront contribution and lease payments.