BOSTON (CBS) – It’s the Main Street of Red Sox Nation, but could the team be facing a bidding war for Yawkey Way?
The Red Sox appeared to be on their way to signing a new lease with Boston to shut down the street on game days.
But now a businessman is trying to outbid the Sox. Revere businessman Joseph Marchese is offering more than the Sox currently pay to take over the public street for pre-game marketing.
In an exclusive WBZ interview, Boston Mayor Tom Menino sent an emphatic message to Mr. Marchese: Don’t waste your time.
“I think you have to own the property adjacent to it,” said Menino. “You can’t just fly in and say I’m gonna run the property.”
Marchese’s offer to pay $3 million over 10 years is roughly double the annual rate paid by the Red Sox.
“It’s not a sweetheart deal; it’s the first time we ever did it. We tried it to see if it worked,” said Menino. “Anybody can say it’s a sweetheart deal, but we’d never done it before, we tried it and it worked. So the next deal will be a better deal.”
If the mayor wants to keep this a no-bid deal, he may be looking at some legal trouble. The only way the city can do that is to declare Yawkey Way a blighted area, a designation that might prove hard to defend.
“I think the legislature also said it was a blighted area through a legislative vote also,” said Menino of the vote over a decade ago. “Well, 13 years ago, that’s not a long period. I’ve been mayor for 20 years. That’s not a long period.”
And Menino made it clear that while he intends to cut a new deal with the Sox before he leaves next January, it won’t come cheaply.
Menino called Marchese’s offer “chump change” and says the Red Sox “better get their wallet out.”
The Boston Redevelopment Authority, which oversees the lease arrangement with the Sox, and Mr. Marchese did not return WBZ’s phone calls. The Red Sox declined comment on their talks with the city, but in an e-mail, a spokeswoman said Sox fans “appreciate the safety, convenience and fun” of Yawkey Way the way it is currently handled.