Revs fans are going to have to wait longer for a shot at their goal: a soccer stadium in the heart of Greater Boston.
Legislation that would have paved the way for a New England Revolution stadium to go up along the Mystic River in Everett was sidelined when state House and Senate negotiators failed to reach an agreement on migrant aid in a broader budget bill as formal sessions ended for the year early Thursday morning.
And later in the day came a new complication, when Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s administration expressed surprise and disappointment about being left out of negotiations between the Kraft Group and the city of Everett over a stadium that would sit on Boston’s doorstep.
“It’s unusual that a project of this scale and impact on City of Boston land would be proposed without any outreach or conversation with the City,” Wu spokesperson Ricardo Patrón said. “The siting and orientation of the parcel seems to plan for most visitors coming from transit and transportation access points in Charlestown, which means the foot traffic and congestion impacts would fall most heavily on Boston.”
The details of a community benefits agreement that Everett officials and the Krafts reached to advance the stadium project also caught some in the House by surprise late Wednesday night, complicating discussions as legislative leaders were scrambling to reach an agreement on the wider spending bill, according to a person with knowledge of the discussions.
The stadium legislation, included in the Senate version of a supplemental budget bill that will now be decided by a conference committee, would remove the proposed Revs site in Everett from a Designated Port Area, a zone essentially limited to industrial uses. It’s a necessary step to redevelop the 43-acre property across Route 99 from the Encore Boston Harbor casino into a stadium. The site sits across the Mystic from the Charlestown neighborhood, although a sliver of Boston extends to the Everett side of the river.
The Revs, owned by the Kraft family, share Gillette Stadium in Foxborough with the family’s other pro team, the New England Patriots. But the Krafts have long sought a place for a stadium designed with soccer in mind, in the region’s urban core.
Whether the Everett property, the site of a mostly shuttered power plant, will bring an end to this long quest, remains unclear. The Legislature is now meeting in lightly attended informal sessions for the rest of the year, when just one lawmaker can stand in the way of a bill.
Location of proposed stadium in Everett
Encore Boston casino
Proposed stadium site
The stadium would hold roughly 25,000 soccer fans but parking on the site would be limited to 75 spaces to promote public transit, under the community benefits agreement with the city of Everett. The Krafts also promised, among other things, to set aside four acres for a public park and spend $5 million for a community center, $10 million for a housing stabilization fund, and $750,000 for improvements to athletic fields in Charlestown.
Even if the Legislature ends up agreeing to remove the property from the port zone, the project would still need to go through other local and state permitting reviews.
A similar version of the DPA legislation had been proposed last year, as part of a broader bill approved by the House. But time ran out on formal sessions last year before the differences could be resolved with the Senate. Since that time, proponents have tried to address environmental concerns, including by making substantive changes to the legislation and drawing up the community benefits agreement.
However, even after those steps were taken, two environmental organizations, the Conservation Law Foundation and Boston Harbor Now, remained opposed this week; they said that approving a special exception for the Krafts via an unrelated budget bill would undermine the state’s Designated Port Areas, meant to protect waterfront industry from overdevelopment.
Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria sees the stadium as key to his vision to transform this part of his city, known as Lower Broadway, into a dining and entertainment district with the Encore casino, operated by Wynn Resorts, as its anchor. State Senator Sal DiDomenico, the Everett Democrat who helped facilitate the community benefits agreement, said residents have waited too long for the redevelopment of the property.
“This power plant site has been a health hazard and an environmental blight on our city for almost half a century,” DiDomenico said in a statement. “It is past time that our community has a say in what will take its place.”
Matt Stout of the Globe staff contributed to this report.