VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Contractors Remove Material From Pawtucket Soccer Stadium Site


Monday, June 26, 2023


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Packing up – material being on loaded to trucks. PHOTO: GoLocal video

The number of workers on site at the minor league Pawtucket soccer stadium has been dwindling for weeks.

GoLocal on Friday saw no construction going on at the so-called Tidewater project.

Mike Raia, a spokesman for the stadium project, told GoLocal on Wednesday, “In analyzing the work completed at the site to this stage and the amount of private funding already allocated to construction, this is an appropriate time to demobilize certain components of the construction while others continue.”


At the construction site on Friday, several workers were loading construction masonry units (CMUs) onto flatbed trailers for removal from the project.

Across the entire site, there were fewer than ten workers in the work area — they were collecting electrical cables and equipment.

Now, remaining on the site are construction trailers and some flatbeds of material, including some steel, but the site project site is now a functional ghost site.


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PHOTO: GoLocal


The Fortuitous Promise

The project — announced by then-Governor Gina Raimondo in December of 2019 — was touted as a $400 million project.

It promised to build a new neighborhood in Pawtucket, with the following touted: 

• A substantial mixed-use development with more than 200 housing units and 100,000 square feet of retail, food and beverage, and other community space
• An indoor sports event center
• A 200-room hotel
• A 7,500-seat stadium that will house a USL Championship soccer team, expected to begin play in the 2022 season
• 200,000 square feet of commercial office space


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Brett Johnson on the Jay Young Podcast wearing a Tuscon FC sweater in front of a rendering of his proposed 15,000 seat stadium — a year later he was out of the ownership group and the team turned amateur.

Tuscon Failed Stadium Project

Brett Johnson, the developer that is proposing the construction of the Pawtucket soccer stadium, has made nearly identical promises.

He announced that in Tuscon, Arizona, he was building a similar project.

On the Jay Young Show, another podcast he recorded in the summer of 2021, Johnson discussed his vast array of investments and, specifically, his soccer clubs. He highlighted the Tuscon FC team.

“FC Tucson so it’s officially in the third division and it’s called League One. So it’s probably a million plus [population], you know, market. So it’s a fairly sizable market. It’s in the southwest part of the United States, which is growing rapidly, so I love the demographic drivers behind Tucson, and I’m working on a downtown stadium which would be transformative. So in a market like that I bring a 10,000 to 15,000-seat stadium,” said Johnson.

“I put my Tucson franchise in that stadium. It’ll transform the equity valuation inherent in the club, but it also transforms Tucson. It’s going to give it a significant sports team to get behind and then I’ll feed a lot more sports into that stadium and I’ll develop a bunch of real estate around it — a multi-family. I’ll kind of do an economic analysis at the highest and best, food hall, hotel, multi-family,” said Johnson.

GoLocal published a report last summer on Johnson and the Tuscon club. It played in a small public park facility often in front of hundreds, not thousands of fans.

The Tuscon team appears to have been a bust for Johnson, and less than a year after Johnson’s pronouncements about the market opportunity in Tuscon, he turned over the club to the team manager and a local owner. Now, neither Johnson nor Benevolent nor Fortuitous have any interest in the team. According to The Sentinel, “The soccer side will drop back a level, returning to their roots as an amateur squad, but has the option to move back up to be a League One pro team again.”




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Governor Dan McKee at the Tidewater groundbreaking in 2022. PHOTO: State of RI

McKee Administration Claims No Public Dollars Spent — But That Is Not Correct

One of the mantras of the McKee administration is that “no public dollars have flowed to the project.”

But, millions have been spent by the State of Rhode Island and the city of Pawtucket in legal fees, consulting costs, and limited infrastructure costs.

GoLocal unveiled last week the RI Commerce Corporation spent nearly $85,000 on a consultant’s report that failed to identify a number of false or misleading statements made by Johnson. Those statements included claims Johnson made about other sports companies and his experience in developing housing. 

“The CLS report issued to Commerce Rhode Island included material errors and omitted key diligence items that likely would have impacted a reader’s opinion of Fortuitous Partners and the Tidewater project,” said Steve Griffin, a Rhode Island business leader and the whistleblower on two major sports companies now being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. In the summer of 2022, the Commerce board approved the tens of millions of state funding for the project on a 6-5 vote with McKee casting the deciding vote.



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Date de Publication : 2023-06-26 09:00:00

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