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Malden

Ballpark opening reset to 2016

The sides are keeping quiet about negotiations on three parcels in Malden where a minor league baseball park is planned, but the developer of the project is optimistic deals will be struck in time for construction to begin by fall 2014 and for the stadium to open in 2016.

“There is a process going on, and I think they’ve [parcel owners] asked, and we’ve agreed, to have a private commercial transaction with them,” developer Alexander Bok said Thursday. “Ultimately, we’re confident we’ll be able to gain control of the properties.”

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Boston Baseball Field of Dreams LLC, Bok’s development group, agreed to a 40-year, $20 million lease of the 6.4-acre National Grid site on Commercial Street in December.

But the ballpark’s design requires the purchase of three other parcels totaling 2.7 acres occupied by L&L Services, a trucking and landscaping company, at 11 Canal St.; Spadafora’s Auto Parts, 129 Charles St.; and Collex auto body repair, at 124 Centre St.

George McLaughlin, a lawyer representing Spadafora Auto Parts and L&L Services, could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Mayor Gary Christenson has facilitated a series of discussions between the land owners and Bok’s group since February in hope of ironing out deals.

Before those negotations started, Bok hadn’t spoken to the landowners since 2008.

Bok refused to discuss the progress of negotiations on the three parcels. But he laid out a timetable of other events that signal the deals may be in place soon.

The CEO of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball — the independent minor league that Bok is seeking for a franchise — is scheduled to visit the site in September, and the project is also expected to begin a zoning review with the city that month, Bok said.

Public hearings will likely be held in October or November, he said.

Environmental remediation work on the bulk of the site — once home to a National Grid gas plant — is expected to begin in May 2014, and construction will begin in the fall of 2014, he said.

Bok has been seeking to build the 6,500-seat ballpark in Malden since 2008. It is expected to host about 70 home games per year.

Bok had originally aimed for a 2014 opening, then pushed it back to 2015. Thursday, he said he was confident that the land negotiations wouldn’t throw the park off-track from a 2016 opening.

New York-based Turner Construction, which has built other major league ballparks including the new Yankee Stadium, was hired in June for preconstruction services and is expected to oversee the project through completion, Bok said.

Jarret Bencks can be reached at bencks.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JarretBencks.
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