- Associated Press - Friday, August 28, 2015

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The state agency that owns the waterfront land where the Pawtucket Red Sox want to build a stadium racked up nearly $150,000 by mid-July in legal and consulting fees to review the proposal, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press through a records request.

The charges are adding up even as details about negotiations between the team and state officials, including a revised proposal from earlier this summer, are kept under wraps.

As of July 15, the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission had been billed for a total of $149,148.81 by two law firms the commission hired to negotiate the stadium deal and two consultancy firms hired to create feasibility studies for the project, according to invoices released to the AP.

Jan Brodie, executive director of the commission, said the agency hopes the PawSox ownership group will cover the costs of the engineering and planning consultants, which total $85,369.01. It also hopes the team will cover the legal fees - which total $63,779.80 - “where appropriate,” a commission spokeswoman said.

PawSox spokeswoman Patti Doyle said the team plans to pay even if the stadium deal falls through.

“We knew in their thoughtful deliberation there would be costs,” Doyle said.

Doyle said she did not immediately know if there was an agreement in writing, or if the team would also cover legal fees.

Brodie approached the firms in March about evaluating the impact of a minor league baseball stadium in downtown Providence, and both firms responded with proposals within a few days, according to documents released to the AP.

The civil and environmental engineering firm Fuss & O’Neill has billed the commission $58,909.01 for the work it has done to assess the environmental impact of the proposed stadium, according to the invoices. The invoices show Brodie signed off on them with her handwritten initials and a note: “To be reimbursed by developer.”

Boston-based architecture firm Goody Clancy has billed more than $26,000 for an urban impact study that includes an analysis of alternative stadium sites, research into comparable stadiums and other issues.

The commission has declined to release any of its findings yet, saying they are still in draft form and therefore excluded from open records laws.

In addition, the commission was billed nearly $60,000 between March 23 and July 15 by Boston-based law firm Wilmer Hale, according to two invoices it submitted to the commission. They show the firm is reviewing the environmental and urban impact studies, as well as a revised PawSox proposal from two months ago that has yet to be made public.

The commission has also paid nearly $4,000 since April 24 to Providence law firm Ursillo, Teitz & Ritch to handle public records requests and research related to the Open Meetings Act.

The AP reported Thursday that if the PawSox build a stadium on the state-owned land that was supposed to be a park, the land will have to be sold first at fair-market value, a requirement that could add millions to the cost of the project. The commission would also have to identify 14.7 acres for open space as part of the new land use plan if it uses some of the already-designated open space for a ballpark.

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