March 31, 2011


Every two years at election time, we hear people running for office saying they want to become more "business friendly" to increase the Commercial Tax base.    Instead we have
  1. FOG or grease traps
  2. proposal to tax 4 units commercially
  3. Local meals tax
Now we want to ban certain businesses from selling cigarettes?    Let's take an example of the pharmacy on the corner of Park Ave and May Street.   The owners are already trying to compete with Walgreens and CVS, that just opened next door, now they have to tell customers to go across the street to the 7-11 to buy their cigarettes. 

These changes will do nothing to curtail smoking but only redistribute current sales, hurting some businesses while helping others.   More importantly it just sends another non-friendly business message.

This is the exact type of thing where the Chamber of Commerce is suppose to make their voices heard? 

March 30, 2011

El Morcco

From Worcester Business Journal daily e-mail..  Where did you hear it first?

El Morocco Building On The Block

By Christina H. Davis
Worcester Business Journal Staff Writer

The former home of the El Morocco restaurant in Worcester was scheduled to be auctioned off today at 11 a.m.  The 12,000-square-foot building is located at 100 Wall St. on approximately 1.79 acres. The building is being foreclosed upon by Shrewsbury-based Central One Federal Credit Union, according to Frank Trapasso of Francis J. Trapasso & Associates, which is handling the auction.

The most recent owner of the building was Shawn Kelly of MetroWest Commercial Real Estate, according to Trapasso. There had been plans to build a 90-unit apartment building at the site, but construction never started.    The El Morocco was operated by the Aboody family for many years and established itself as a local landmark.

Callie Crosley Show

Rick, Paul and myself were on her show today.  Check out her web page  about our appearance.  Picture Paul took of me in the lobby

March 29, 2011

Home Funds

I asked the City for report on HOME FUNDS from January 1, 2010 thru the present day:

Canal Lofts                                                               750,000       64 rental units
South Worcester Neighborhood Center             450,000      25 rental units
Windor Street LLC                                                 400,000         6 rental units
East Side CDC                                                         120,000        homebuyer unit  & 2 rental units
Castle Hill                                                                 550,000       9 rental units
Worcester Common Ground                              1,000,000       22 units of housing
Channing Terrace                                                   360,000       46 units
Main South CDC                                                     150,000       6 rental units
Whiz Kids  LLC                                                       250,000       18 units
Latin American Health                                            60,000         9 Single Room Occupancy units

Some of these units are on-line, while others will be coming on-line.  

The Governor of Florida recently said "NO" to a whole bunch of monies from the Federal Government to build a train line.   His basis was that,although the money was free that Florida could not afford this in the long run.

Considering we already have way above our minimum, maybe we should say "NO" to anymore HOME FUNDS>  

March 27, 2011

CityPlace is just a pipe dream

CityPlace in West Palm was pretty amazing. 

Nice to see the vision of City Square  live in color with CityPlace.  Granted I know Worcester can never be exactly like West Palm,  since my return Wednesday, there have been two stories in the Telegram about Main South CDC and low income housing
  1. Garner Kilby Hammond
  2. Grand Street
When is it ever enough?    We keep building projects like this, CitySquare will only be an office tower.     Currently we already have close to 15% low income housing, which is 50% over the Commonwealth mandate of 10%.   When do we say "NO!!!"  to any more Home Funds, Historic credits or whatever "free" money, that is not free, that is being handed out for more "No-Lo" housing.

If we say nothing,which we are doing, the CDC's and other developers of No-Lo surely will not stop, since this is their life blood.   Forget about 15%, we will be at 20% in 5 years and lead the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the supply of NO-lo housing.      If we don't, there is no chance any developer or bank will consider putting the money into downtown Worcester that CitySquare will require.

Lets put NO-LO housing, where they need it in towns like Princeton that have basically none.

March 24, 2011

Anal Sports Bar

Sign Guy can you grab a "C" and head down to Millbury STreet

NFL Network

Comcast in Florida has that as part of their Basic package.   Talk about an awesome channel, Icould watch that all day long.   Come on Charter add the NFL network. 

Southgate Place

Three bedroom asking price--  $1,200 per month.

Main South CDC

Next time anyone reading this blog is near West Palm Beach, I strongly suggest you check out CityPlace.   Checked out a bunch of condos and really liked the Palms.    It reminds you of Faneuil Hall but with a movie Theatre and grocery store, with great weather year round. Got back last night, after one of my worst flights ever.    The stroms from Virginia through Pennsylvania rocked the plane for an hour.

today I get back and one of the first stories I read is about another press conference for 17 units of low income housing for Main South CDC.    Is this still news anymore??   

I got to admit that these projects, when they build duplexes like the are in Gardner-Hammond, they actually improve the neighborhood, although I can but help question the amount of money that is spent per unit.    Construction wise these are the most expensive homes built per square foot in Worcester.    

Projects like these are much better then the dense constructed projects like May Street, Hadley and Southgate Place.  

March 22, 2011


Not to be confused with City Place in West Palm Beach, visited there the other day.   Similar to Faneuil Hall in Boston and what expect the developers of CitySquare had it mind..      Absolutlely fabulous, surrounded by office buildings and condos.   

March 21, 2011

Paul Shea Part 2

Paul, let me apologize to you for my earlier post.   Glad to see that you use your real name and your opinions are more then welcome here.   Good guy named Paul Shea, use to be an Atlas salesman ran against O'Day 4 years ago?

Just get frustrated sometimes.    My list of businesses, that have left which I have not even posted for a long time..  Actually, now that I think of it, Eric sent me an e-mail that those two businesses.    

Either way the list is to try and show people that businesses are leaving the City of Worcester eroding our commercial tax base thereby  burdening the remaining tax-payers, both commercial and residential.   You don't think this way and I respect your opinion.

I simply disagree with you.

March 20, 2011

Spring Break

Take a few days to spend with wife and daughter in Florida.    Can anyone tell me if it was in fact the old El Morocco proeprty to be auctioned on the 30th in the newspaper.

Jahn, right behind Walgreen's where the old shooting range was..  Remember that?  The branch of Web 5 across from Lietrim's is moving there.

Overtime Tap was orginally McFadden's then a steak place, but I forgot the name.   

March 19, 2011


I graduated from college in 1986 and began my work career in Worcester in 1986.   25 years later, I would like to pose the question "Is Worcester better off or worse off today then in 1986."

Personally, overall I have to say we are worse off today. 

March 18, 2011

Paul Shea

Little quiet on the blog front this week.

Paul Shea, is that his real name or not who cares, hit a nerve with me this week?   By the way Paul, I have nothing against you, I actually find your comments quite insightful, especially regarding the airport.  All the more reason your comments bothered me.

The intent of my blog, or any of my other stupid comments, are not to drag Worcester down, but actually to pull Worcester up.       I did not wake up one day and say, "Hey I cant wait to put together a list of the businesses I see leaving Worcester", so I can pay more in taxes and see the value of the under-lying properties that I own go down in value.

It just gets to a point, however, that when you hear "City on the Move", which nobody wants that to happen more then me, that I feel that I have to point out the realities of the situation.        I dare say the state of Worcester in 1986 (when I started working downtown) was better then today.  Which direction are we moving?
Sorry Paul, over the past 20+ plus years:

  1. Businesses are not coming to Worcester
  2. The over-all tax base is eroding creating a burden on the remaining businesses/residents that remain
Whether you putting together a list of the businesses that are coming or leaving Worcester, one only needs to to look at their tax bill to know which one is longer.  

Southbridge Street Rock Salt Pile

In the fall I remember driving by it,thinking that is a hell of alot of rock salt.   Today I was driving by and noticed it was completely gone.   Started asking around and was told the thing was wiped out twice.    Some indication of how bad a winter it was.   That is a gone dam lot of rock salt.  

March 17, 2011

Business closing update

• Bally Fitness in Lincoln Plaza (in today's T&G)

• PW Sherman at Gold Star and Mill St. - looks like WB Mason might have bought them out according to website

Thanks Eric

March 16, 2011

Blogger Get Together

Sorry--forgot!!   Was reminded today by Sprout.   Next time for sure.     Gerat idea, however, having ex Red Sox star Dwight Evans there signing autographs.

Crompton Knowles

Telegram has pictures of the demolition of Crompton Knowles. 

Sad....   I look at the building and think how it literally employed thousands and now it will become another no-low housing project that will receive millions of tax-payer monies.  There will be numerous ribbon cutting ceremonies about how great this project will be , but we are only digging a deeper whole for ourselves.

March 15, 2011

Rumor Mill

Hearing that the El Moroco property is going out to auction on March 30th. 

Another good one, but I need to get more information

Philly Plan

Yesterday I was at a meeting of the Chandler Business Association with Congressman McGovern,   A new business-owner commented how after all his hard work and investments to make Chandler Street better all he saw from the City of Worcester was permitting fees and now much higher tax bills since his property is assessed higher.  His comment was, more or less "The City give no incentive for people to invest".

The response was that there has been some talk about a Philly type plan, but nothing has happened and we have Gateway Cities legislation coming.    Versus waiiting for Gateway Cities legislation lets put the Philly Plan in action in Worcester today.  

We need to target 25 under-utilized parcels:
  • can not be for non-profit
  • waive permitting fees
  • waive water and sewerage connections
  • lock in current assessed value for 10 years
  • ste certain standards (number of jobs to be vreated and minimum amount to be invested)
This would ensure these parcels remain on the tax rolls, pay dividends down the road and actually expand our tax base.   Taxing 4+ residential units commerically or offering tax breaks to commercial businesses with 10 or less employees does nothing to expand the tax base, it only rearranges the current taxes.

This is where Jahn is going to comment about how we need to be cutting the expenses of City Government.  Jahn, I agree!!!   We need to 1) cut expenses but 2) we need to expand the tax base.   Deal like Tri-Cab are good for the City of Worcester.  Lets do 25 more of them. 

March 14, 2011

Asian Beattle

Four large trees cut down on Drummond, runs between Holden and Gorve Street over the past couple of weeks.     Looks like this thing was not contained in Harry T's hood and is traveling throughout the City of Worcester.

March 13, 2011

Northborough Tax Bills have dropped

Why?  Another good story in the Globe.    Did they come up with new tax classifications?  No, they reduced tax bills by increase their base. 

Unlike in the vast majority of communities in Massachusetts, Northborough homeowners on average will pay less in property taxes this year, largely because Northborough Crossing and the nearby Avalon Bay Communities apartment complex have increased the local tax base by almost $35 million, the town finance director, June Hubbard-Ward, said.

Low Income Housing is booming in Massachusetts

Story in Boston Globe last week, click here.   Here is the key sentence

The funding is part of a $71 million initiative announced by Governor Deval Patrick last week benefiting 21 cities and towns around the state and adding more than 2,000 jobs to the workforce.

March 12, 2011

Boston Housing

Great story in the Globe today.  Small so I just copied it

The Boston City Council will host a hearing Monday about plans for the Burbank Apartments, an affordable housing development, with affordable housing advocates planning a march and rally before the hearing.    According to the City Council agenda, the Council’s Committee on Housing Committee hearing will focus on maintaining affordable housing in the Fenway neighborhood. 

First Realty Management, the owners of the Burbank Apartments in the East Fenway, have said they want to opt-out of affordable housing programs and convert the 173-unit complex to market-rate units at the end of the month. 

According to those who protest the plan, including the Burbank Apartments Tenant Association, the change would mean “thousands of people will no longer be able to afford to live in this neighborhood that has access to employment, transit, and cultural resources,” according to the Fenway Community Development Corporation.

These advocates are planning a march and rally prior to the meeting, with the march scheduled to start at 2:45 p.m. at the Edgerly Playground, and a rally following at 3:30 p.m. in front of the Susan Bailis Assisted Living Center

March 11, 2011

McNulty Profiled

Wire Infamous Scene

Canterbury School Street School

Tracy I doubled checked about the homeless shelter on Cambridge-McKeown.  I am being told that they are goiing to Canterbury not QUinsigamond Village and that they represent anywhere from 25-33% of the students that go to Cantebury Street.  

Not real important but can you put it on the bottom list to try and get me clarification.   The only reason I bring this up is so that people seen the implications of these developments.  If not for shelter and new Southgate Place, Canterbury would have most likely been shut down?

March 10, 2011

21 Benefit Street

In light of Worcester Mag article this week.      21 Benefit Street was deeded via RFP in October, 2005, to for a Community Garden to complete development within two years.  Honestly don't know if this was ever done or not.  I will check out.  

Massport Director Talks about ORH

Telegram Story

Jordan Levy Show

Doing these blogs, I try not to go on rants and stick to the facts.   Let me preface this blog by saying, this is a rant.    Today I was driving on 290 listening to Rep O'Day call into Jordan regarding his idea to increase the State Income tax from 5% to 5.90%.

The call started with Jordan questioning the Rep regarding an e-mail that he had been forwarded to him from a listener.  Evidently the original recipient had some questions regarding the Rep's idea to increase the state income tax and included what radio shows he (or she) listened to .   The Rep's e-mail response was that if the sender listened to "that radio show", why bother answering the question since the Rep would never get the sender's vote. 

I was glad that Jordan was upset by this e-mail response.  What difference does it make what radio show a constituent listens to when answering a question?   I was disappointed, however, when the Rep assured Jordan  that it was not his show, that was referenced in said e-mail and Jordan let it go.    Evidently the Rep does answer questions if you listen to the Jordan Levy, but does not answer any questions if you listen to the Jim Polito?

Later the Rep went on to say his idea would only cost a family in his district making 62,000 per year  only $10.   Wouldn't it be more like $600 per year?  The Rep should now make a call to the Jim Polito show and explain:
  1. Why he feels that anyone who listens to Jim will never vote for him.
  2. Explain how a 20% increase in the Massachusetts income tax will only cost a family in his district making $62,000 only cost them $10.
  3. Why didn't the Rep discuss his idea to increase the Massachusetts State Income tax by 20% during the election this past November.

March 09, 2011

Obamacare Savings

Two new proposed classifications

  1. 10% surcharge on any of the rates if family household income is over $100,000
  2. 50% surcharge on your commercial tax bill if you do not live in the City of Worcester
Steve I was just kidding.  Just trying to make a point.    Adding a 2nd residential and 2nd commercial tax is just like re-arrranging seats on the Titanic.   We are not addressing the problem.   Need to either 1) cut expenses or 2) increase revenues.  

March 08, 2011

City Council Meeting

Missed meeting tonight but this was on the agenda:

10D)  Request City Manager, with the City Council, explore implementing a small business tax exemption at our tax classification hearing this year. Small businesses with 10 or fewer employees and commercial property assessed for less than $1M would receive a 10 percent reduction on their property taxes. (Smith, Eddy, O'Brien)

We already have the idea to tax 4+ units commercially on the table and now we want to have a 10% reduction for commercial businesses with 10 or fewer employees.    Although we all agree that going to the dual tax system was a mistake and we never should have gotten away from the single tax rate.  

Our answer to rectify the situation is to now we want to have 4 property tax rates?
  1. Residentail property with less then 4 units
  2. Residential property with 4 or more units
  3. Commercial property owned by a business with 10 or fewer employees
  4. Commercial property owned by a business with 10 or more employees
Why stop there?   Lets keep adding more classifications.  

Nick K


March 07, 2011

Jim Polito Question of the day

Does Worcester need more no-lo housing?

Vote here

March 06, 2011

Telegram Story on 48 Mason Street

Click here

Reversionary Clause

No reversionary clause in the original documents.  In other words, the City of Worcester puts out an RFP (Request for Proposal), awards the bid to Mason Winfield LLC and requires within the deed (10/31/2005) that the townhouses must be built within two years, but forgets to put in any penalty if the townhouses are not built within the two years?     How the hell did that happen?

Now, as the new City Housing Director Jacqueline Vachon-Jackson says, "she is strongly considering bringing legal action to take the Mason Street parcel back."   If there was a reversionary clause in the original deed in 2005 or LDA (Land Disposition Agreement) there would be no need for this.

$400,000 EPA grant.
  • If a for profit developer receives EPA brownfields monies, you need to pay it back.  
  • If a non-profit developer receives EPA brownfields monies, they do not have to pay it back.   
  1. Mason Winfield LLC (for profit), the winning bidder, transfers the parcel to Common Ground (non-profit) and minority partner in the Mason Winfield LLC for $100.     
  2. Common Ground ,  whose Executive Director readily admits in the story that they are not the "real owner", apply for and receive $400,000 from the EPA that they do not have to pay back.
  3. Once the final bill ("expected soon") of environmental health is received, the property will get deeded back from Common Ground (the fake owner?) to Mason Winfield LLC, the "real owner".   
Not only does this put a for profit developer at a disadvantage, does anyone else just see something wrong with this?    A for profit developer is receiving the benefits of $400,000 of tax-payer monies through the EPA Brownfield as a grant, not loan,  by manipulating Common Ground's non-profit status. 

$700,000 versus giving it back

In the story the Executive Director of Common Ground (the fake owner) says he would consider giving it back.  On the other hand the "real owner' says he has invested more then $700,000 of his own monies.  If you were the "real owner", would you give the lot back to the City of Worcester???  

Orchestrated Complaints

Is being up front telling people what we think "orchestrated"?     I can tell you this, however, none of the anonymous complaints have been from us (Chandler Business Association).   Why would we be anonymous?  Also I do not consider using 48 Mason Street as a land fill site, which is clearly prohibited by the deed and by city ordinance for two local construction projects (Worcester State Parking Garage and the sewer work on May-Main Streets) as being trivial. 

Does this look like a "grassy field"?


In the end this project was a good project, had the full support of the Chandler Business Association and it is too bad that it was not completed.  At the same time if you are going to bid on an RFP and win the award, you need to comply with the terms of the bid.   You can not blame the real estate market or the economy?   Sadly all of this could have been avoided if they City of Worcester simply had a reversionary clause in the deed or LDA.

Lastly I agree that there is no "special treatment" today, that was given back in 2005 when the the prior Housing Directory deeded this city owned property without any reversionary clause.

March 04, 2011

Mason Street

As you know we have been talking about this for years on this blog and Paulie's blog.  What you might not know is that the Sunday Telegram is writing a story about this.    I urge everyone to please try to read this.

After reading keep in mind that there could be a story like this every Sunday for the next ten weeks detailing the monies behind these no-lo projects.   

My hope is that people will take a step back and take a look at our housing policy the past ten years to simply "keep building  more and more no-low housing wherever you can with no limit in sight".     Click here to see my map. 

Let me ask you this, is it just coincidence that the schools where most of these monies have been invested are under-performing and foreclosures are extremely high?   These developments do not solidy the neighborhood and I dare say they bring them down!

Now the people, who are opposed to this, and invested in No-Lo development will come out against this story hard.   In fact they will say they need even more money to continue the current housing policy and do more projects.  

You be the judge drive around the areas on my map and ask yourself if the current housing policy is working?    Read this editorial. 

March 03, 2011

Paulie's Blog

Must read  


Ohio Update

Senate approves Union now on to their House.  Click here

March 02, 2011

Howie Carr Death Pool

Who is going to be dead first:

  1. Charlie Sheen
  2. Lindsay Lohan
  3. Moammar Gadhafi

Canterbury Street School

This was really a great school when Principal Sanders was there.     I have seen it steadily decline over the years and if it were not for the homeless shelter on the corner of Cambridge and McKeown Road, I wonder how many students there would even be there?

Mark my words, this could be the next school to be tagged like Chandler and other school, forgot name, was a couple years back.   Can anyone translate this chart for me?   Click here

Worcester Towing

There has been some work lately on a lot next to the Pharmasphere lot on Southgate.  Direnzo towing now has a sign up and is parking cars there.   Did some asking around and found out they needed to get a lot in the City of Worcester because they were awarded a towing contract by the City of Worcester.

How did that happen?  Early, Boulevard and Pat's have owned the City of Worcester as long as I can remember.

March 01, 2011

City Council

I watched a few minutes tonight and Paul Morano, good guy, was on talking about a company that was going to get a TIF that was moving somewhere in Quisigamond Village.  Link to story-- thanks Dave Z.     Sorry, don't know many details, although it sounded alot like the Philly Plan.

Putting that aside, the City Council asked alot of questions.    That is a good thing, they should!!!!   From what I heard and what I know about the individual involved, it sounds like a good deal for the City of Worcester.   Exactly the types of investments we need to build up the commercial base......

The only bad thing is that people are being questioned today, because people who preceded them dropped the ball resulting in moribund projects like Pharmasphere and Mason Street.

The Wire Final Scene

McNulty Wake from the Wire

Seattle Race & Social Justice Initiative

Jahn you have to read this

Click here

License to Drive

The other night I caught an old movie called License to Drive with the two Coreys, Feldman and Haim   .  Not a bad movie.  then flash forward to the reality series the two Coreys.

Watching that reality series was like watching a train wreck, until Corey Haim overdosed.  Can't help but thing the same thing watching Charlie Sheen