Boston’s Fenway Development Boom

Insights from Three NECA Contractors Building MGM Music Hall at Fenway

The Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood in Boston was an “on the fringe area” until it recently “significantly changed” into a thriving epicenter of Boston’s development boom, says Jim Reen, a NECA Boston member on the job at Fenway Park’s new MGM Music Hall.


Reen is the Vice President of Construction Operations of Gaston Electrical--one of three NECA Boston contractors working on the 91,500-sq-ft performing arts center; a key element to Fenway Park’s “state-of-the-art” transformation.


NECA Boston contractors Gaston, Sullivan & McLaughlin, and JM Electrical are all working on what Reen describes as a “once-in-a-lifetime” building project at the famous grounds of MLB’s oldest stadium.


“As a Boston kid, to step on the field, and see this side of the city turn around is amazing,” said Chris Michalek, the project Foreman for Sullivan & McLaughlin (SullyMac).


Complex, State-of-the-Art Construction at MLB’s Oldest Stadium


“Electrical and telecom construction on the state-of-the-art MGM Music Hall is complex enough on its own, but its connection to the historical Fenway Park, built in 1912, presented incredibly unique challenges for NECA Boston contractors to overcome,” said John Guarracino, Principal & COO at JM Electrical Company.


Guarracino is overseeing JM Electrical’s advanced automated building system installations for the Music Hall.


For instance, SullyMac is handling telecom construction, which includes the installation of the fiber optic backbone coming from the existing Fenway Park throughout the MGM Theater. “Bringing Fenway infrastructure through MGM is certainly a challenge,” says Michalek.


Michalek, who joined the U.S. Airforce at age 18, and transitioned to the private sector through the Helmets to Hardhats program, says his military discipline helped him manage wiring the tele/data infrastructure for three separate network systems.


From a Project Manager’s perspective, it was a “huge collaborative effort on a landmark project,” said Dave Joyce of Gaston. It was no small feat to integrate a 100-year-old fire system with Fenway Park, and coordinate with engineers and architects, he said.


Some of Gaston’s other work on the project included the relocation of the existing power substation, new power systems, and installing a new 500 kW generator.


Looking Forward: the Fenway of the Future


Excitement is high for the anticipated summer opening of the four-story venue that seats 5,000 patrons. Yet MGM Music Hall is just one of the developments brightening the future of Fenway.


2 million square feet of real estate development is in the pipeline through a joint partnership between Fenway Sports Group, owner of the Boston Red Sox; the D’Angelo family, and WS Development.


NECA contractors are also leading the area’s life science construction surge, with Boston now having the most U.S. lab construction in the nation. Gaston, for example, is also working on the Related Beal Beacon Building in Kenmore Square, which is being built for potential life science use.


“We're a densely populated city, so taking a currently occupied space and doing something new and special with it is rewarding,” said Dave Joyce.


The future certainly does look special for Fenway.