November 27, 2008

Worcester Home Funds

City of Worcester had pledged 750,000 to Southgate Place despite the fact:
  • none of abutters support the project, not to be confused with community support. Developers will say there is community support, which means people that do not live or own property in the neighborhood.
  • we are already way beyond the 10% low affordable housing requirement
  • the South Worcester Master Plan calls for development of owner oocupied units not 25 unit apartment buildings
  • when the developer could not get the support of the abutter for various variances, they simply changed the plan to avoid any variances
  • my favorite, the plans include a bocci court. Handball or volleyball court maybe, but a frigin bocci court!!
  • one other thing. The developer flips the property into the hands of South Worcester so they can get EPA grants since South Worcester is a non--profit. Once the work is completed then they will flip the property back .
  • imagine they wil ask for a waiver of all water and sewer connections
  • imagine they will also ask the city to pay for sidewalk repairs

Why is the City of Worcester giving this project 750,000??? How is that for staying neutral. The thing that really bothers me about this whole project is that it is the South Worcester Neighborhood's job to protect the neighborhood from developments like this. Not only are they not protesting against this, but they are a 50% partner in the project.


Jahn said...

Because a 50% partner is a for profit company...(from Natick I think) wouldnt surprise me if this project is mothballed for at least the immediate future. If you were involved in this project and looked a few hundred yards away and saw Cambridge Hacker 80% vacant..what would you do?

City Builders project is Similar to the Worc Comm. Ground project on Mason in that Mason St also has a for profit builder or owners as a partner and these for profit companies arent going to risk their money in more low income housing until the economy turns and and all the other real estate debacles in Main South are cleaned up, including but not limited to

1. Biscuit Lofts
2. Cambridge Hacker
3. The soon to be completed Old Piano Factory (my prediction)
4. Any others I missed?

Mason St was supposed to be started no later than Sept, 2005 and all they have done to date is razed teh old structure and make the site EPA compliant.meanwhile we're 3+ yrs down the road now

Our councilors s/b fired for signing onto all these contingent liabilties (Home Funds) that are being used to finance this inundation of low income housing. Talk about financial Hari Kari

BTW, how can they be called Home Funds when City Builders site will be rental units. I always thought a low income home buyer had to BUY (not rent) the property?

Jahn said...

Deoes anyone see a trend developing with non profit builders almost basically brokering environmental clean up virtue of thei non profit status that enables them to get Jim McGovern to pony up the clean up money from Washington

I wonder how many of these low income deals Jim does for Fall River?

I am also wondering what the political nexus is of the company from Natick, that I believe is involved with city builders site? We all know what the nexus is on the Mason St site.

Bill Randell said...


They are gettng HOME funds from the City of Worcester, HOME funds from state and Federal tax credits.

Although the project is costing $7 million, in the end the loan that has to be paid back will be in the $600,000 to $1,000,000 range. In other words, this project will not be mothballed.

Right now based on the market values and the credit market, the only ones who can build in Main South are highly subsidized builders on affordable housing.


Paulie's Point of View said...

reporting in from Dooblin, this not good Jahn..the mothballing? does it leave it open for different housing in the future if the neighborhood and market will support it or does it stay linked to no-lo income

Jahn said...

But Bill, I thought how this works is the Home funds (at $25K a unit) originate in Washington and are given to the city who in turn disburses them to the builders with a resultant $25K liability (soft 2nd Mortgage) on each unit that the city has to repay to Washington if the unit falls into the hands of a non qualified Owner (or tenant)... i.e. not low income person.

I dont think there's a line item in the city budget called home funds that actually come form the city coffers...........the city just acts as a conduit from Washington to the builder...

I am not exactly sure how the fed'l & state tax credits work. I thought the builder(s) get those all for themselves when they do their taxes and/or they can be sold to investors???

Yes Paulie, mothballing the project does leave it open to poss. diff. future uses I am not sure what uses though....middle income housing........commercial use????

I am telling you years from now Main South is going to an aggregation of small Great Brook valleys everywhere spread all over the Main South District and McGovern and all the CDC honcho's will be retired to Fla.

These old factory sites s/b bought up by the city & the buildings secured or razed. It's much less expensive in the long as opposed to creating massive low income housing projects with them which cost the city $11,900 per student plus all the social ills and costs that come from these low income endeavors.

Low income housing is probably in the top 3 businesses in Worcester.

1. Colleges
2. Hospitals
3. Low income housing production.

Plus they are absolutely decimating the private Landlord three decker rental market.

Gabe said...

What kind of influence does Clark have over the Main South neighborhood? If I were Clark University I would be at City Hall daily asking what the hell is going on.

It's funny that if you start at WPI and travel on foot to Clark and than to Holy Cross you walk through some of the worst parts of the city.

What ever happened to Clark buying up a whole bunch of land down there and redeveloping it? I could have swore about 4 or 5 years ago I heard about something like this going on. Shortly after that all the Kilby/Gardner/Hammond stuff started and I thought that it was the Clark stuff starting up.

Guess not.

Jahn said...

Gabe the dirty little secret is that Main South re development is more to benefit Clark than anyone else...and Clark even has a so called "government relations" person who I believe even serves on the school committee. One of this persons jobs is to make sure that main South is re-built to Clarks liking. Main Souths make over is primarily all about Clark and secondarily about the neighborhood & the city. Clark is supposed to "share" their new Main South facilities with the city at large, but I'll believe that when I see it.

Clark is supposedly a "partner " of sorts in re-making Main South....the only problem is the remake of Main South has been done for the most part with our tax dollars from Washington and to a lesser extent dollars from Beacon Hill and city hall.

The problem now is that this remake of Main South has spawned all these non profit CDC builders whose only objective is the continued building their own fiefdoms of low income housing. We have:

Main South CDC
Matthew 25
Worc Common Ground
Worc Community Housing
S Worc Neighborhood Center

We have even had outside consultants tell us that we need to curtail/reduce the production of low income housing by non profit builders.....again another recommendation to the council that falls on deaf ears.

All these non profits are raising funding from our tax dollars to inundate the MS area with densely built, intensive land use low income housing. This is not a sustainable business model as the city grows and moves forward. We have 35% more low income housing now than is mandated by state law, meanwhile our suburban neighbors are raking in the businesses & middle class people who are fleeing the city b/c of the negative effects of too much low income housing. FWIW, low income people have little or no discretionary, disposable income. For the millionth time, all this low income housing all pours studetns into teh school system at $11,900 per head.

I could go on & on...........people are probably getting sick & tired of my redundancy & repetitiveness.......the bailouts of the future are going to be urban municipalities who have been overly burdened with low income people.......which burden the municipalities have brought on themselves. Main South is going to be nothing more than an accumulation of small Great Brook Valleys in future years and the titans of the CDC's will have long since left the area.

Bill Randell said...


I may have to post this comment tomorrow