IndyCar race months away, but infrastructure is arriving

Organizers haven’t started doling out tickets for the IndyCar race in Boston, but they’re already stacking up concrete barriers for the event in the city’s marine industrial park.

Grand Prix of Boston has signed a licensing agreement to use an acre of vacant land controlled by the Massachusetts Port Authority to store barriers in advance of the race, which is scheduled to take place over Labor Day weekend.

Justine Griffin, a Grand Prix of Boston spokeswoman, said organizers plan to store barriers at the site until circuit construction begins in mid-August. The barriers will then be moved to the 2.2-mile race route that encircles the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.


Griffin said the storage process is beginning now because the barriers are large — they are more than 3 feet tall and 12 feet long — and moving them in small quantities is less disruptive. She also said it makes more sense to transport them from their builder in small quantities.

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Massport, coincidentally, is currently seeking bidders for that same land: The acre is one piece of a 30-acre site known as the Massport Marine Terminal, situated along Fid Kennedy Avenue. The site is owned by the city, but Massport controls it through a long-term lease.

Massport spokesman Matt Brelis said Grand Prix of Boston signed an agreement to use the property on a month-to-month basis, effective Jan. 27. Massport will get about $14,500 a month for allowing the race organizers to use the land, Brelis said. He said the use of the property didn’t need to go out to bid because of the short-term nature of the arrangement, and the fact that it’s a licensing agreement and not a lease.

Because of its waterfront location, the property also is governed by an agreement with state regulators that limits what can be done on that site to maritime industrial uses. Brelis said the short-term nature of the IndyCar agreement doesn’t interfere with that requirement.

Grand Prix of Boston is still undergoing city and state reviews in order to secure permits for the race. A letter of intent was signed with key agencies in December, and Griffin said she expects a final memorandum of understanding to be executed within the next month.

An IndyCar mock-up was on display in May 2015 at the news conference announcing the Labor Day 2016 race.
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press/File
An IndyCar mock-up was on display in May 2015 at the news conference announcing the Labor Day 2016 race.

Jon Chesto can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.