Lawn on D concession deal ensures 2016 reopening

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BOSTON – One of the city’s most innovative parks, the Lawn on D in South Boston, could stick around for another half-decade, according to the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, which oversees and funds the park.

While the Lawn operated at a significant loss – $2.3 million – in 2015, park officials were looking to increase facility rental revenue and may charge admission to pare the losses this year. The Boston Globe reported in August that the 2.7-acre park’s future was in doubt.

By comparison, the city budgeted $660,000 for fiscal 2016 to maintain Boston Common, the oldest public park in America and covering 48 acres.

At the Lawn, a partnership with Rebel Restaurants – an affiliate of the Seaport District-based Cronin Group, a development company that owns a dozen restaurants in the city – will increase food options for both corporate customers and public events at the park, according to David Gibbons, the convention authority’s executive director. Under the contract, the authority will receive 15 percent of food and beverage sales from the venue, Philip Crohan, a spokesman, said Tuesday.

“This close partnership with Rebel Restaurants is a big part of making the space even more successful and financially sustainable, and we are hopeful that this combined with sponsorships and other efforts will mean that The Lawn remains open for the long-term,” Crohan said by email.

Lawn-related revenue also comes from food truck fees and a percentage of sales made through the concessions tent, as well as from renting the entire park for private functions, according to the Globe.

“This improved service will be available for both our main pavilion and our new corporate pavilion,” Gibbons said in a statement Monday. “We can now do events ranging from casual to black-tie and our corporate customers will now be able to have customized food menus to meet their special needs.”

Not only will additional food service be part of the agreement, but Rebel will offer more live entertainment and boost marketing and promotions.

The Lawn will open this year at noon, May 21. The five-month season of activities, art exhibits and live music, will be its third.

Contact Kara Bettis at [email protected] or on Twitter @karabettis.