BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox announced last week that they want the city to help them find a site for a stadium to replace Fenway Park.
Team officials said on Thursday that the 82-year-old stadium is beyond repair and a new facility is necessary. No public money will be used for construction, they said.
Boston has abandoned plans for a combination convention center and stadium. While the city pursues construction of a simple convention center, it seems willing to help the ball team choose a place for a private stadium.
"We want to work with the Red Sox and get this matter resolved as soon as possible," Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino said in an interview on Friday.
"They have been a part of Boston's history, and we want to do all we can to keep them here in the future," he said.
Menino said that up until this point the team had been "somewhat ambiguous" about their plans for the stadium.
"We know, though, that there will have to be a new stadium built before too long," Menino said.
Red Sox officials said they would be interested in building a stadium that could also be used for football's New England Patriots.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft has voiced interest in sharing a stadium with the Red Sox and said he would be willing to move his team from the Boston suburb of Foxboro to the city's downtown.
Initially, the state legislature discussed a facility that could be used for football, baseball, and conventions. The plan, for what was then called the Megaplex, would have cost about $800 million and would have been built by state-backed bonds.
That approach died last month. With the plan held up in a legislative committee by political wrangling, Boston's Redevelopment Authority released a report arguing that a combination facility would be too expensive and that what the city needed was simply a convention center.
Menino endorsed the report, saying a combination facility wouldn't work because much of Boston's convention business occurs during football season.
The report suggested building a convention center in South Boston, preferably on C Street in the city's Fort Point Channel section. The center would cost about $438 million and take up 1.44 million square feet, with 555,000 of that devoted to exposition space.
The report projected the year 2000 as the opening date and said the center would generate approximately $225 million in extra revenue for the city and state in its first year and an annual $420 million by the year 2010.
The second-choice site, on Northern Avenue, would cost $556 million because of infrastructure changes needed to build the center there, the report said.
If the facility were financed through the sale of municipal bonds, the expected yearly burden from debt service would be around $35.6 million over 30 years, the report said. The next step for the convention center will be further soil and site testing of thee Street area.
"Building the convention center is good business and all part of our plan for urban renewal," Menino said. "This facility is part of the future of Boston and will be built."