Red Sox have a plan to improve bleacher seats at Fenway Park
The Red Sox are proposing renovations to the bleacher section at Fenway Park as well as a new function room aimed at providing “sweeping views” of the beloved ballyard, according to a letter of intent the team submitted Tuesday to city planning officials.
The letter from Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Red Sox, was sent to the Boston Planning & Development Agency and signed by Jonathan Gilula, the team’s executive vice president of business affairs. The letter also provided details of the company’s proposed 5,000-seat Fenway Theater, a performing arts center eyed for land alongside the ballpark.
Regarding the bleachers, Gilula wrote that the proposed upgrades include “a new area connected to the back of the ballpark’s bleachers that will feature concession stands, restrooms, and other elements designed to enhance the fan experience in the bleachers.”
The Sox also have big plans for the function room.
“Additionally, the Fenway Park Improvements would include a new function space with sweeping views of Fenway Park suitable for large groups and private events,” Gilula wrote. “The Interior Renovations would modify existing spaces to enable them to be shared between the operators of Fenway Park and the Fenway Theater (including a shared lobby, commissary, loading dock, trash and utility areas).”
Zineb Curran, a Red Sox spokeswoman, said Wednesday that renderings of the bleacher renovations and function room weren’t available because the team is in the early stages of working with the city for approval on the project.
John Henry, the team’s principal owner, also owns the Boston Globe.
The iconic center field bleachers, known for bargain prices and raucous cheering, have undergone face lifts before.
Curran said in an e-mail that “the bleacher structure has existed since the ballpark’s opening in 1912, however, it has changed shape through the years. The current bleacher footprint was created in 1934 when the seats were originally wooden slat boards (similar to a gymnasium bleacher). In 1983, the last of the wooden boards were swapped out for seats. The current green plastic seats were installed in 2007.”
In September, the Red Sox released renderings of the Fenway Theater, proposed for a triangle of land behind the ballpark’s bleachers between Lansdowne and Ipswich streets, in collaboration with music giant Live Nation.
Gilula wrote that the theater “would host a wide variety of entertainment and civic events on a year-round basis, enlivening the Lansdowne Street entertainment district on both Fenway Park event days and non-event days and providing a steady stream of patrons for the neighborhood’s many restaurants and retail establishments.”
Asked about a time frame for the review process, a spokeswoman for the city planning and development agency said Wednesday via e-mail that the “Letter of Intent kicks-off the Article 80 review process. We look forward to an extensive public review of the proposal alongside the community in 2019.”
Gilula wrote in Tuesday’s letter that the team looks forward to working with local authorities on the projects.