Hey, there! Log in / Register

Developer wants BRA to declare part of the Back Bay as blighted

The Herald reports that Boston Properties could gain millions in tax breaks for its proposed complex at Back Bay station if the BRA agrees that that particular area is blighted. The BRA did not snort or laugh or slap its knee, because it is seriously considering designating part of the Back Bay as an urban hellhole. Something about a high water table, the Herald reports.

Ad:

Comments

Considering that the DOT/Mass Turnpike has decided that it's okay to have run a below grade highway through there without covering it as originally promised when it was built and then leased out various vacant parcels as surface parking lots rather than transfer them to the city for development, and considering they have failed to conduct regular maintenance on the train station and surrounding sidewalks to the point where there are pieces of plywood covering holes so that people won't trip (but painted grey to blend in so it looks nice!), I'm not sure the developer and the BRA are wrong here. Back Bay station and its surrounds are kind of a blight on the city.

up
Voting closed 0

High water table? Yep, we all know how that has just completely stunted the Back Bay and the South End.

up
Voting closed 0

I don't get what the mystery is here... It's really hard to build buildings over train tracks and highways. Not an engineering mystery, but just a lot more tricky and expensive. The suburbanites roaring through here with car and commuter rail pollution and noise are a necessary evil, I guess. At least I'd rather have a nice building to cover up at least some of it.

I don't think it's that mysterious that the developers need extra help to overcome the special challenges of building over all that transportation infrastructure that was built for suburbanites. Maybe we could truncate the pike at 128 and build housing right in the road right of way instead of all this.

up
Voting closed 0

Boston Properties doesn't exactly need help with money. schools are shutting down. mental health facilities are shutting down. tax money should NOT be going to boston properties so they can "get help" with eventually making billions and billions on the ROI

up
Voting closed 0

They list their revenues for the period closing on 12/31/2015 as $624,240,000.00. Let them work their financials out with their millions of dollars to pay for their own project.

If you care to go through and verify this, it's listed on page 7 of their financial statement here:
http://phx.corporate-ir.net/External.File?item=UGFyZW50SUQ9NjA4NTIyfENoaWxkSUQ9MzIyMDUzfFR5cGU9MQ==&t=1

up
Voting closed 0

The suburbanites roaring through here with car and commuter rail pollution and noise are a necessary evil, I guess.

Suburbanites are what keep the city humming. Commercial space provides more revenue for the city, but takes less resources, than residential space. The idea that people should live and work in the same exact zip code is pernicious and harmful to smart development and long-range urban planning, tempting though it is.

up
Voting closed 0

The "you city people owe us guys who live in the suburbs" stopped being accurate .. 20 years ago? Boston would do very well without the suburbs. In fact, a lot of current residents (I'm looking at you, Southie) would prefer no more suburbanites.

Oh, and Boston pays the majority of city aid to the MBTA. Trust me, without having to subsidize your train ride in from Billerica, we'd all be a lot better off.

up
Voting closed 0

I wish I had these sort of powers while house shopping. Blighted! Blighted homes everywhere! Get me a treasure trove of homes for nickels on the dollar.

up
Voting closed 0

From the Herald article:

BRA officials refused to rule out the possibility the land could be labeled as blighted, saying there could be a variety of reasons — such as a high water table — why the land may be difficult to develop and would need a tax break.

In other words "we're looking at every means possible to legally designate this area as blighted so we can get our huge kickbacks. The way the BRA works sometimes I really don't know how we managed to fight off the Olympics...

up
Voting closed 0

Day after day after day we keep hearing these ridiculous tales of corruption, mishandling, and plum deals for developers coming out of the BRA. When is anything going to happen to change this? What is the actual threshold for people rising up against them?

up
Voting closed 0

When will we rise up against them?

Ask the 10 city councilors who just gave the BRA 6-years of carte blanche.

http://www.universalhub.com/2016/council-approved-six-year-extension-bra...

up
Voting closed 0

If they didn't come up with these exceptions, nothing would ever get built.

Really you guys are the problem, because you are happy with crazy-high commercial real estate taxes on the "factory owners". And the rest of the social engineering regulations that go along with building or running a business here. Why are you surprised?

Without these exceptions Boston would be Bridgeport CT.

up
Voting closed 0

You know what Bridgeport is famous for? Look up the Kelo case. The difference is our developers actually build things when the city gives them special privileges. Hooray for us?

up
Voting closed 0

aka Kelo vs. The City of New London. As in New London, CT as in not Bridgeport

up
Voting closed 0

I can't keep my CT towns straight. I should retire from fact-based snarking because I'm no good at it.

up
Voting closed 0

Similarly-sounding, but Bridgeport is known more for kilos than Kelo.

up
Voting closed 0

Bridgeport was known as a GE manufacturing town until they off-shored manufacturing. The other thing they did in Bridgeport is change tax zones so the suburbs weren't helping to finance city services.

up
Voting closed 0

I'm just saying this crooked system seems to work for enough people to keep it going. Buildings get built, a few crumbs get tossed to black people or old people or women, enough to shut up the loudest.

(I think Kelo was different because it was strictly for economic development. Eminent domain wasn't designed for that, it was for roads etc. I don't see the difference in spirit, but planners seemed to feel that Kelo was a big step.)

In any case we have set up this system where we have very high taxes and massive regulations, which get circumvented only by the biggest dealers in real estate, who then throw some cash at the city underclass and call it social responsibility. Isn't that a recipe for hollowing out the middle class?

But instead of Elizabeth Warren figuring it out, she and her followers are still banging the drum for higher taxes and massive regulation.

up
Voting closed 0

Answer: Phineas T Barnum, Bridgeport's favorite son! (cue orchestra)

up
Voting closed 0

With the BRA Boston would be Cambridge. Which seems to have done and is still doing just fine!

up
Voting closed 0

Classic, by the 2x4s:

">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWwildAcUt8[/youtube]

up
Voting closed 0

Without the BRA, Boston would not need to make zoning exceptions because it would do what other cities do, which is write comprehensive city master plan with up-to-date zoning regulations that outline development guidelines based on location, neighborhood density and other tangible measurements. But instead we get a committee with no accountability to anyone that makes decisions on a case by case basis at the pleasure of the NIMBYs and large-scale developers with connections. Neither of whom feel the downside of the tight housing market in Boston.

up
Voting closed 0

Sadly, some people think its ok to steal millions of dollars if you are part of the 1%. Now if you are a poor who steals from a convenience store? Off with your head.

up
Voting closed 0

But it is ok if the government is the one doing the stealing on behalf of the 1% with the blessing of some non elected and non accountable paper pushers.

up
Voting closed 0

for a major news outlet to do some sort of investigation into this, with a special focus on Marty, each individual in the BRA, and the city council. Hell, even the Globe could have an easy followup to "Spotlight"...if it had any integrity left. The best thing that could happen to this city is to have our "leadership" called out and dragged through the mud nationally. Wishful thinking, I know.

up
Voting closed 0

There will never be a meaningful planning agency in Boston as long as the mayor is allowed to give stuff awaybtonhis pals (GE or whoever Menino liked, it's all the same). The mayor would be a fool to give up that ability. Now, he can do what he wants while complaining about the BRA. Win for him if not for the people of Boston.

up
Voting closed 0

The biggest scandal is when these properties later get sold and the BRA approves transfer of the tax credit to the new owner, even though the transfer is completely contrary to the city's best interests.

up
Voting closed 0