- Associated Press - Thursday, September 3, 2015

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Plans to build a stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox in downtown Providence are less likely to move forward because of new hurdles, including that Brown University wants $10 million for part of the land, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said Thursday.

Mattiello said he thought an agreement with Brown was more imminent than it actually is. Also, Mattiello said the city of Providence now wants economic incentives to host a stadium that have not been considered during any negotiations and that “there isn’t room for.”

“At some point, the cost will be too much for Providence and the state and we’re not going to be able to move forward,” Mattiello, a Democrat, said. “We’re not there yet, but I’m becoming more concerned, or more realistic, that that might be where we end up.”

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza said in a statement that the city should not have to spend anything to build or operate a stadium. He did not elaborate on the request for economic incentives, only saying that there should be a “dedicated revenue stream” to ensure that the project does not cost the city.

The PawSox are eyeing prime riverfront property that used to be the site of Interstate 195. Some of the land is owned by the ivy league university; some by the I-195 Commission, a Rhode Island state agency.

Brown wants $10 million for two acres, said PawSox spokeswoman Patti Doyle.

“We agree that it could possibly be too expensive, but it’s just too early to say with certainty,” Doyle said in a statement.

Doyle didn’t say whether the team would be willing to pay for the land owned by Brown. She said the team’s focus continues to be renegotiating an agreement with the state.

The team’s original proposal, asking for $120 million in state subsidies, died after facing public opposition. The team is working with the state to renegotiate a deal.

Brown wouldn’t say how much it’s asking, but said it wants to be fully compensated for its investment in the land. A statement from the university also said it wouldn’t use the stadium for its athletic events and doesn’t see a stadium as providing “tangible benefits” for other campus activities.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo and Mattiello discussed the stadium plans privately Wednesday night.

Mattiello said he’ll support the project if he believes it’s in taxpayers’ best interests and taxpayers agree. As project costs increase, it becomes less likely that those conditions will be met, he added.

Mattiello said the deal isn’t dead, but it faces “some very challenging hurdles.”

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