September 28, 2010

Chevalier Furniture

I need to set the record straight on this on.   Initially I was not crazy about this project but the more I have been looking at it I have changed my mind, which I believe I have been saying?  Just in case this will be a good project --why?

  • The city has given some money, 750,000 in HOME funds to help but not an outrageous amount like some of the other projects
  • Good balance between market rate and low-mod income (50/50)
  • Off street parking is being provided, not to mention the availability of the Union Station Garage
Driving by the project I can see this adding alot to the neighborhood and being a springboard to maybe more market rate housing.  I see none of this potential when I drive by Southgate Street, May Street or the Hadley.


Bill Randell said...

The more I think about it. I can see how the Chevalier project can be a building block to bigger and better projects.

On the other hand May, Hadley and Southgate Street are simply dead-ends

Bill Randell said...

admittedly I wish it was more in the 15-25 range then the 50%, but it is a move in the right direction. More importantly I can see this project spurring other market rate housing to be created.

Jahn said...

Bill, my dapper amigo, I am having a hard time understanding you this time on the overall low income housing issue here in Worc. Glad to see you might be back pedaling a bit from the original post.

Do we really need anymore low income housing in Worc. NO. We both know Worc is 40% above the state mandated minimum. Only 50 of the 351 municipalities in Mass are compliant with the 40b law and most if not all of them are cities. 40b is similar to immigration laws... no one enforces them. Do you think Coupe Deval would espouse low income housing in Milton or at his manse in the Berkshires(Lenox?)?

Also, by virtue of the fact that Home funds are being used for 50% of the units in this project, doesnt that preclude the units from ever eventually going to market rate or is there a fixed lock up period of say 25 yrs during which the units cannot be converted from low income to market rate?

50/50 split between market rate and low income??? way can thsi be seen as good for Worcester unless youre using the otehr 100% low income projects as a standard aginst which to measure?

Lastly, one our big bones of contention re low income housing constr is parking spaces that may often equate to 1/2 of a parking space for each unit and zoning calls for 2 per unit with some small exceptions for large apt blocks. Yet in spite of this you think that giving Winn parking variaNCES is OK? Let them reduce the number of apts such that they meet the parking req'mtns.

Bill if Union Station and commuter rail become really huge for the area do you want low income tenants taking spaces from commuters in the new Union Station parking garage? Man would I ever blow a fuse if I am commuitng to Baaaawstin and it's 630am on a rainy Monday morning and I cannot get a parking space b/c teh garage is overly populated with 1989 Corrollas and 1979 Buick Electra's.

We need to keep the low income peeps in that area in the lower Grafton St and Providence St areas, both of which are really minaiture Main Souths. I-290 provides a perfect man made barrier bewteen the 2 above areas and what is supposed to be the future Canal District. I my not so humble opinion we should keep it that way or possibly blow any chance that we have of keeping low income housing from the Canal/ Union Station area.

Some might call me a "socio ecomomic classist" but there have to be good geographic boundaries between the givers and the takers in life. Senor' Paulie will attest to that.

Repeating myself here as election day appraoches but it"s germane to teh topic at hand. I ma going to have to vote to keep 40b. for 2 reasons ...

1. to get low income housing out of Worc and into the burbs and

2. 40B is really irrelevant to Worc b/c the way things Work in Worc. any non profit CDC can get any zoning variance they need to over populate a site with low income housing. CDC's do not have to rely on 40b in Worc to accomplish their socialistic agendas.

I am intereted to hear if in my posiiton on thsi 40b vote I may have overlooked other relevant issues to vote to eliminate 40b?

Bill Randell said...


DO I wish this was 100% market rates? yes.

I see this project more of utilizing the low-income financing to create market rate housing which I see may lead to more market rate housing. In other words I see a potential for an end game here.

No, these units will no be low-mod forever. Each deal is different but they usually are 15 years.

Bottom line I can see this project being a catalyst to more market rate housing in the district. Whereas the other projects are a catalyst to nothing.

These other projects are just projects for the underlying developer-agency to receive development fees not the better the neighborhood.


Jahn said...

And your vote to keep or do away with 40B?

Not trying to pry here, but i want to get others opinions b4 I pull the lever and make a mistake. Am I ocerlooking otehr pertinent issues such that I should vote to do away with 40b?

Word Verf: Later...!!!!!

Jahn said...

Bill, the opinion here has often been that is not possible to have market rate folks living under the same roof or in close proximty to subsidized rental folks....even if the subsidzed folks all work.

It seems to just result in major culture/lifestyle clashes and gov't cannot change this no matter how hard they try. Not unlike having college kids living in city neighborshoods vs. keeping them on campus. Both are completely diff. demographics.

So I guess you're saying that the 50% market rate units are basically being subsidized BY including THE 50% low income units in the SAME building/project?

Then there's always the possibly (probablity?) the market rate units do not rent, with the result the place could go 100% low income. A 100% low income project there would decimate teh Canal Ditrict proposals.

Also when large landlords try to remove the low income restrictions after the Home funds period runs or the subsidized low rate mortgages are paid off all the politicians start crying about it and then Washington sends mucho low interest rate money to the owners of the apts to keep them low income. Happend in Lincoln Village here in Worc. with Carrabetta who owns or used to own Lincoln Village. May also have haoppened over a t Washington heights too off Mill st.

BTW, how's that Mill St Corridor project coming along?? Has to be 2 yrs since I heard a peep about it? Massport maybe step up to the plate on that one??

Gabe said...

Can I ask a simple yes or no question of you people? If marketed right can they not get early to mid 20's kids just out of college to rent the 50% affordable portion?

This is a simple yes or no.

Bill Randell said...


Yes they can and that is what I am hearing they are planning on doing.


David Z. said...

And that's what makes this project a winner!

Jahn said...

"If marketed right can they not get early to mid 20's kids just out of college to rent the 50% affordable portion?"

Gabriel, mio fine hombre', probably not a bad idea. However.....

DZ and esp you Wild Will and to a lessr extent Gabriel, you folks ever hear of teh MCAD. Nope , it has nuttin' to do with Mcas tests.

MCAD = Mass. Commission Against Discrimination. Also be advised they conduct sting operations looking to bust landlords for not renting to pajama people or folks with small kids.....etc. I am sure most can recall the radio spots that show up around here once in awhile.

You cannot as a Landlord say... "Senora', nada seccion ocho. Gracias & au revior".

Paulie's Point of View said...

Senor Pedro Jahn..I have been renting to Tufts, Boston College & Harvard kid's for years...they rarely want to be far from campus..they like to be off campus but close by cause they do not have cars and Woo having such a poor transit system?...most if not all of the colleges are making it quite attractive for the kid's to stay on campus nowadays..I do not see any mass movement away from college campus..and you are right on the discrimination issue..local social service providers will be all over this...Winn Management is not stupid..they would lose any future housing funding if they were found to be skirting discrimination laws....Gabriel were you not just a few months ago blogging right here and on yer blog about the virtue of this mix of 50/50% to all of us and now you are in favor of skirting discrimination laws?

The 50/50% wasn't meant to slide in college kid's hombre's

David Z. said...

Correct me if I'm wrong but Gabe is not saying they will be marketing to college kids but those in their early to mid 20s just OUT of college.

With the amount of debt that college students carry nowadays, they would certainly qualify for the affordable housing portion.

And no one is advocating for discrimination. We all know they can't refuse to rent to a family but that does not stop them from marketing to a specific demographic.

Paulie's Point of View said...

you are correct..I stand corrected on the in college/out of college....but Gabe was advocating for the 50/50 months ago and chiding those of us against lazy to dig up but it is there for the diggers:>)

Kid's out of college or career college students the 50% is not meant for and we are all aware of this

Jahn said...

I dont know about you guys, but I am not sure if I my worst drinking days were in my college years or the years just after college. Ya see just after college I had more dineros in my pocket which = more Jahnameister in mi stomach and less brains cells in mi head :) .. plus I had no student loans and a good paying job altho not in my chosen field of endeavor.

David, debt does not qualify you for NOLO housing. It is all income based. If both madre' & padre' both make 15k flipping burgers for a total income of 30k...then it the 30k that shows up on their taxes that is the relevant figure for the NOLO applicants.. The debt is not deducted from that?? Not sure where you're coming from here?

Actually you can refuse to rent to certain families/person(s) if the apt you're renting is also in the same building as your home. I think however they maybe a limit to the number of units in the the building that also houses the LL's home. Might be 3 or 4 apts, not 100% sure. However, Obvioulsy Chevalier will not be Mr Winn's home.