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Kraft seeks to expand Patriot Place

The company run by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft wants to expand its Patriot Place development at Gillette Stadium with hundreds of housing units, several restaurants, and a hotel.

Foxborough town officials are in preliminary discussions with the Kraft Group about the expansion, which could result in up to 300 residences and new dining and entertainment options, including a bowling alley. The project would require a zoning change and approval of eight additional liquor licenses, town officials said.

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The proposal comes after Foxborough residents earlier this year rebuffed a plan by Kraft and casino developer Steve Wynn for a gambling and entertainment complex across from Gillette Stadium. Kraft and Wynn dropped the proposal in May after anticasino candidates swept the Foxborough selectmen’s race.

Expanding Patriot Place with residences and a hotel would provide a year-round supply of customers for its shops and restaurants, which at times have struggled to generate consistent crowds during the Patriots’ off season. The project would also shake-up Patriot Place’s dining options, adding a Japanese steakhouse and Mexican restaurant.

The Kraft Group has not yet filed a formal proposal with the town, but its executives have been meeting with a committee of Foxborough officials in recent weeks. The details of the proposed expansion were first reported this week in the Foxboro Reporter.

“We’re just trying to build on the success we’ve had to date with the venue and want to develop the property to its full potential,” said Ted Fire, vice president of development and construction for the Kraft Group. He said the company has been approached by a hotel operator interested in the property, but the size of the hotel has not been decided.

All of the new activity would be within the existing Patriot Place development on the east side of Route 1, not across the highway where the casino had been proposed.

The Kraft Group, along with Foxborough officials, are also hoping to add full-time commuter rail service to the property. Currently, the MBTA runs trains to Gillette Stadium only on game days.

Patriot Place, opened in 2007 at a cost of $350 million, is home to more than 1.3 million square feet of shops and restaurants. The complex includes a Patriots museum, a Renaissance Hotel, more than 10 restaurants, and dozens of retail stores.

The discussions over its expansion are just beginning, and the exact location of the new buildings is still unknown. The town has appointed a four-person ad hoc committee to begin considering the details of the project. Members of the committee said the residential component of the plan is the biggest stumbling block, as its approval requires a two-thirds vote from town meeting.

“There’s no multifamily at all on Route 1 right now, so it’s a big ask,” said Kevin Weinfeld, a member of the ad hoc committee and chairman of the town’s planning board. He added, however, that the town has a good working relationship with the Kraft Group and will entertain its effort.

Selectwoman Lynda Walsh said she’s excited to see the Kraft Group’s plan and urged residents to offer their input.

“My hope is that the town and the [Kraft Group] will come to a mutual agreement and that their new additions will create jobs and more income to the town to help with tax burden on home owners,” Walsh wrote in an e-mail.

Casey Ross can be reached at cross@globe.com.
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