Chatter about the proposed “Fenway Theater” began back in September when Fenway Sports Group announced its plans to build a new entertainment venue at the intersection of Lansdowne and Ipswich streets.
Here’s what we know about the proposed theater, gleaned from planning documents Fenway Sports Group submitted to the Boston Planning and Development Agency on Feb. 22.
‘The Triangle Lot’
The new theater is slated to stand on a 1.5-acre piece of land referred to as “The Triangle Lot,” according to the plans, plus a portion of where the Fenway Garage currently is. The garage is about 50,000 square feet; 20,000 square feet would be demolished to create space for the theater.
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Currently the lot serves as a place for broadcast trucks to park and as a “service yard” for the ballpark, the plans say. The proposal calls for moving the broadcast trucks to a parking lot at 189 Ipswich St, according to the plans.
‘Intended to fill a void’
The new theater, with its proposed 5,400-person capacity, will provide a new performing arts venue at a size the city needs, according to the plans.
“The Fenway Theater is intended to fill a void in the landscape of performing arts venues in the Greater Boston area by providing a facility whose capacity sits between venues that accommodate less than 2,500 patrons and the larger arena/stadium venues,” the plans say, noting that the proponents used a market analysis to identify whether there was a need.
For reference, the Wang Theatre can fit 3,500 patron, while the House of Blues — across the street from Fenway Park’s left field — can fit 2,500. There’s also the Schubert Theatre, which has a capacity of 1,500. On the larger end of the venue spectrum, TD Garden can seat 19,600.
Fenway Theater could also provide “new opportunities for performing arts programming and educational initiatives,” the plans say, given its location — close to the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Boston Arts Academy, and Berklee College of Music.
The plans don’t elaborate on what types of performances the new theater would host, simply stating that there would be “a variety of events and private functions.”
Live Nation, which plans the entertainment for House of Blues, would also do so for the new theater in a “joint venture” with Fenway Sports Group.
Fenway Park changes
The plans call for a new 30,000-square-foot addition atop Fenway Garage. Fans would head into the new space via the right-field grandstand or bleacher seats.
New food and drink areas and bathrooms are planned for the lower level of the park, as well as some new seats, the plans say.
Upstairs in the addition, a “multi-purpose reception/function room” with a capacity of 500 people for a banquet-style event, or 600 people standing, is planned. The room will overlook the park and could be used for events before or after a game or on nongame days.
The park will lose about 450 bleacher seats in right field — part of the plan is to put in seating at tables and counters that would collectively seat 150. That means the park will drop about 300 seats as a result, the plans say.
If all goes according to plan, shovels could hit the ground after the baseball season ends. Construction would take about two years, with the summer or fall of 2021 eyed for a grand opening.
The Fenway Park changes would be completed by beginning of the 2020 baseball season, according to the plans. Developers want anything that will affect park operations finished in the early phases of the project.
New jobs and additional tax dollars
The work is expected to create 80 full-time and 450 part-time jobs. The roughly two years of construction would employ 200 workers.
The city stands to gain about $1 million in new tax revenue each year from the project, according to the plans.