December 01, 2009

Commercial Property Owner

To City Manager and Council,

I'm concerned that the elected officials only care about short term elections and appeasing the majority of homeowners (voters) in Worcester, instead of paying attention to the long term prosperity of the City as a whole. By rubber stamping a dual tax rate ("lowest residential"), Worcester is losing not just tax revenue, but the multiplier effect of jobs, higher home values, and fiscal budget sustainability that small and large businesses create. Without jobs (provided by private business), how can individuals afford to buy homes with the bonus side effect of increasing home prices/equity.

I'm the president of the Osgood Bradley Building at 18 Grafton St. I'm sick of watching my tax rate increase, while my tenants (unable to afford increases in rent to offset the increase in tax), go out of business. My building is now 80% empty. My tax bill is about $50,000. This is ridiculous on a building that loses about $75,000 a year. I have no spare money for maintenance or upgrades. There are few companies looking to move to Worcester, when they get a better lease rate in other towns.

I'm starting to examine selling my building, and non-profits seem to be able to pay the most. I wonder if it is because they will save $50,000 a year in taxes. How many vacant buildings and non-profits (not paying property taxes) do you want in the city?

Yes - you have a revenue problem in the City of Worcester, but the current dual rates compounds the problem, and doesn't lead towards a sustainable solution. As a elected official, you often have tough choices.

I would recommend a stepped program towards a single rate, and paying for it through complete wage/salary freezes for city workers (no cola, raises, or steps!), until the single rate is fully adopted. Also - I'd recommend rather than needing political favors, and time spent filling out paperwork for TIF's, that across the board, for all commercial property, that any improvements made in 2010-2012 will NOT increase taxable value of the property for 20 years. This would immediately spur investment, and start to restore jobs and prosperity in the city.

Your decision today on the Tax Rate, will help make my decision to shut down my building, sell to a non-profit, or explore investing in the property to land new tenants and businesses.


Bradford Wyatt
President Osgood Bradley Building Corporation


Jahn said...

It just hit me so I must have been slow on the uptake here.

Is Worc Comm Grd going to morph into both a housing and a commercial property builder/re-haber. ALso has Mian South CDC done any commercail projects? I don't know? Bill you must know?

WCG did a combo residentail/ commercail structure at Piedmont and Chandler maybe 10 years ago. Now they're at the Main St end of Piedmont building a brand new residentail/commercial structure...about 75% residential & 25% comm.

What they should have done is put garages at the ground floor level and not commercial space, as there is no on site parking for this project.

Can you imagine being a commercial property owner in that area and having to compete with WGC's brand new comm. space that will probably be leased for short money? Now just think that b/c there is no parking for WGC's newest project at Main & Piedmont...all of WGc's residentail tenants and business tenants customers all go and park in front of your nearby commercial property. I'd be PI++ED.

SO if the residential projects dry up b/c things wont sell or rent will the CDC's start going commercial? Are their restrictions on what they can use Washington DC money to build?

This is scarey. Then stop and think of all the privately owned empty store fronts on Main St and the non profits are constructing new comm. space. HUH???

The money from Washington has to stop!!!!!!! Worc is addicted to it and needs to go into rehab immediately .

John said...


Mr Wyatt

I sincerely hope your letter has some impact on City Hall