December 28, 2012

Vacation over

Took a couple days off...   

Still wondering when the final HUD report will be released?   

Maybe we should wait for that before we have any meeting with the Economic Development Committee?    

Can I please say this for the 1000th time, there is nothing anyone can do to limit the amount of affordable housing!!!!    Nohting!!!

December 24, 2012

Brick in from Vegas

My right hand man, Fran Brick, moved out to Vegas couples year back and we all miss him.  Comes home for Xmas, but watches the news in Worcester from Vegas and bought me a clown nose..

Merry X-mas !! 

December 21, 2012

Caravan lot on Main Street

new sign

5 May Street

There are alot of questions on the 1,900,000 and the accounting as to where the monies were spent and I am sure we will hear alot more about.    The projected cost, City Hall Council meeting, for these units is 266,538.    Think in the end that will be the cost when completed.

My point is that many people are upset about the cost.   If someone is upset with the cost of 5 May Street then should they not be ten times more upset with the cost of 9 May Street and the literally millions that were spent on sewer upgrades.

I am not trying to defend 5 May Street, since I do not know all the facts.  All I am trying to say is that if you want to complain about the monies spent on 5 May Street then you should be doing the same with these other projects?

  1. 5 May Street 266,538
  2. 9 May Street 414,539
  3. 15 & 17 LaGrange 200,792
  4. Austin Corridor II 355,553
  5. Hadley 514,679
  6. KGH 1 & 2 331,369
  7. KGH 3A 299,610
  8. KGH 3B 365,999
  9. KGH 4 325,995

December 19, 2012

South Worcester Industrial Park

20 years!!!
Let me say that again 20 years!!!

Bet you there has to be 10 million invested in land takings and clean-ups.    Not even calculating the lost tax revenues.     Now we want to take on the Wyman Gordon parcel?

The City is going to end up getting sued by Wyman Gordon.  I watched last night and I did not hear one "public use" reason as to why the city should look into this property for eminent domain....     

Wyman Gordon lawsuit

If I am Wyman Gordon and I had a potential buyer and the City Council starts talking about eminent domain and I lose my buyer....

I would seriously consider a lawsuite against the City Council.

December 18, 2012

Eminent Domain and Wyman Gordon

Konnie hit it out of the park!!!

  • what is the public good
  • what is the development plan

December 16, 2012

Affordable housing projects done right

As I have pointed out on this blog many times and at a recent meeting of the Chandler Business Association, look at the Chevalier Building on Water Street.   I believe this has a 25% "affordable" component, reminds me of the Royal Worcester on Grand Street-a great project which has a similar "affordable" component.

The developer uses these grant monies for the portion of the portion of the project dedicated for "affordable" to make the numbers work.   These are great projects and make the City of Worcester a better place to live.    On the other hand projects like the Hadley, 9 May Street or Southgate Place which have 100% affordable are not.   Imagine being turned around to rent a unit at any of these places because you make too much money?  

We need to put a limit on any of these projects in the future in order to received any funding from the City of Worcester.    A 25% limit per project seems very fair to me.      If you want to do a project that is 100% affordable, there is nothing anyone can do to stop you.  Just the City of Worcester should not give any tax-payer assistance. 

5 May Street

There are alot of questions right now as to whether the $1,900,000 of NSP (Neighborhood Stabilization) actually was invested into the property or not.    Evidently by a recent article I read in the newspaper, there was not proper documentation and the City of Worcester will need to pay these monies back.  At the same time the article indicated that these monies would be funneled back to the City of Worcester. 

The bottom line is that there was shoddy record-keeping and I am sure employees, who no longer work for the City of Worcester will be blamed for this.   Surely there will be more on this over the coming months.  Needless to say monies distributed need to have better checks and balances, but that is not the purpose of this blog.    Lets look at the numbers.

From what I have heard I would estimate that the cost to finish the project would be between $40,000 to $50,000  per unit.    In the end the total cost would be approximately $310,000.  Don't get me wrong this is ridiculous, but this would end up being the 3rd cheapest of the 9 development projects listed in the City Council agenda Tuesday  in my post below. 

All I am trying to point out is that it is pretty hard to say that this project was a waste of tax-payer monies when your project even costs more?    The average cost of the 6 projects that were higher comes in at $384,000 per unit.  In actuality 5 May Street at $310,000 will be a deal.

  1. 5 May Street    266,538
  2. 9 May Street   414,539
  3. 15 & 17 LaGrange     200,792
  4. Austin Corridor II   355,553
  5. Hadley     514,679
  6. KGH 1 & 2     331,369
  7. KGH 3A    299,610
  8. KGH 3B  365,999
  9. KGH 4  325,995

December 15, 2012

TDC (total development cost) per unit

Check this out and pay attention to page 3 the line that says TDC (total development cost) per unit:

  1. 5 May Street    266,538
  2. 9 May Street   414,539
  3. 15 & 17 LaGrange     200,792
  4. Austin Corridor II   355,553
  5. Hadley     514,679
  6. KGH 1 & 2     331,369
  7. KGH 3A    299,610
  8. KGH 3B  365,999
  9. KGH 4  325,995

These are the costs to develop ONE rental units.    If you see nothing wrong with this, then I guess we should simply keep doing it. 

Worcester Properties

Right now the City already controls the South Worcester Industrial Park.   For all practical purposes they are involved, although they do not own, Mason Street.  In the spring, they will foreclose on 5 May Street.

Add into this the fact the City of Worcester will be taking back countless other properties that commercial property-owners are walking away from.   The City of Worcester will have quite alot of property under their control that will be paying no property taxes. 

The last thing the City of Worcester need to do is take back Wyman-Gordon.... That said if I was Wyman-Gordon, I would write up an offer with the prospective buyer for 10 million dollars and tell the City of Worcester, it is all yours just give me 10 million dollars.

Most importantly what "public use" could possible be used as the reason for this eminent domain?? 

December 14, 2012

Eminent Domain-Wyman Gordon

I am speechless....

On what ground exactly should the City of Worcester propose that they should take this property via Eminent Domain???
I am truly amazed that anyone on the City Council has proposed this and actually supports it..   Couple of questions:

  1. What message does this send out the developers?
  2. I can only imagine the legal bills the City would incur to pursue this not to mention the purchase price of the parcel!!!

December 13, 2012

Great day for a skate on the Oval today

Boston to Phlly

jetBlue blog

Brady Quinn

Good point by Jahn

The developers of "affordable" housing have not only gotten hard dollars for their developments, but there are literally millions of dollars of "soft" costs that have been:

  1. insane variances for parking, frontage and just about anything else you can think of.
  2. city owned lots that took year to get title to through Land Court given away through direct negotiations for pennies on the dollars
  3. although I have never been able to confirm, I got to question if they have been charged all the permitting fees anyone else would have been.  In particular water and sewer connection fees

Again let me emphasize for the third time,  there is nothing in the RKG report that recommends the closure of any CDC's or limits the amount of "affordable" housing that can be built in Worcester.  

December 11, 2012

Soarin with Santa

Clarification Repeated

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts puts a target for each town and city of 10%.  If a town or city does not have the 10% level, a developer can come into the town or city and call a project 40B and circumvent local zoning ordinances.  This is an over-simplication, but the general point is correct.

Nobody, but nobody can limit the amount of "affordable" housing and there is nothing in the RKG report that will stop "affordable" housing developments.  The report does say that we have enough and should focus on City dollars in other areas.     That is all it says and I agree.

The developers of "affordable" housing can keep building more units until we become the highest of any town or city in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  The RKG report only says that the City should stop subsidizing these units and invest their monies elsewhere.   Makes perfect sense.

The only ones who really hate the report are the ones who are currently getting City dollars to build "affordable" units. 

December 10, 2012

December 6 Chandler Business Meeting

To: Chandler Business Association (CBA) & City Council

The Chandler Street Business Association would like to extend a special thanks to Worcester City Councilors Sarai Riviera, Konnie Lukes ,Tony Economou , Worcester State Representative John Fresolo and City of Worcester Business Development Director, Phil Niddrie for attending our meeting on December 6, 2012 at Baba Sushi.

The purpose of the meeting was to hi-light the millions of dollars of private investment that has taken place over the past five years and that is also in the pipeline from Main Street to Parke Avenue and from Pleasant Street to Chandler Street

This development and civic efforts are a community effort of diverse individuals and organizations including but not limited to:
• Arthur Mooradian Construction

• Richard Kazarian – Keystone Plaza

• Andrew Serrato – Serrato Sign

• Bill Randell – Advantage Benefits

• Maykel Family – Living Earth & EVO Restaurant

• Greg Larno

• Worcester House of Pizza

• Community Healthlink

• Pho Hein Buddhist Temple

• Ed Hyder Mediterranean Market

• Bahnan’s

• The Raven

• Dunkin Donuts

• Paul Collyer-Residential Development

• Sharon Doherty – Neighborhood Resident

• Baba Sushi

• Kozara

• Gary Gaffin Accounting

• Rocco’s Men’s Clothing

• Suney’s Pub

The RKG Housing Report which has been the subject of positive and negative discussions, details the current housing conditions in the City of Worcester and it gives specific recommendations that if followed over a period of time will positively reshape and revitalize the urban core of the city. The Chandler Street Business Association supports the RKG Housing Report and it looks forward to working together with all in accomplishing these recommendations set forth in the report.

The Chandler Street Business Association has a history of working together on important urban issues as evidenced by the success of its involvement in the HUD sponsored Neighborhood Revialization Strategy Area program( NRSA) and its involvement in the placement in its neighborhood of the Triage and Assessment Center formerly known as the notorious “PIP SHELTER”.

The Chandler Street Business Association believes that there is a new dawn upon the City of Worcester and its urban core and that what was perhaps needed 20+ years ago is not necessarily what the City of Worcester needs today. It further believes that CDC development at the level it has been at the past 20+ years is no longer needed and that more reliance on private development should be encouraged and pursued.

The Chandler Street Business Association looks forward to a healthy dialogue on the issue that effects it’s membership and others greatly and it looks forward to the city sponsored hearings.

Andy Davis interview

Heard this on radio last night

December 09, 2012

Diane Williamson--kudos!

Nice story today on her skating at the Oval.   If you have not had a chance to go , you should.  Last paragraph....      

Thanks Diane, what a good sport.  Must read.    Here is the last paragraph.

Which is why I am writing about my own debut, to congratulate the city and encourage folks to head to the oval.  Also, documenting my injuries in print will make it that much easier when I apply for worker's comp. 

December 08, 2012

December 07, 2012

Soarin with Santa

Hope to see everyone up the airport tomorrow

Yelp defamation lawsuit

very interesting, click here

December 03, 2012

December 02, 2012

Nick K

Good story today!

December 01, 2012

The Oval

Kudos to the City of Worcester, in particular Christina Andreoli for the opening of the Oval.  Daughter and I had a ton of fun and will back.  Urge anyone to support this.  Absolutely fantastic for downtown.   live cam

good turn out today too!!!!

Don't forget Santa lands next saturday at the airport

Tax Rates


The dual tax system has simply pitted residential property owners against commercial property owners.   What has happened? 

  • The Commercial tax base has eroded
  • As a result Residential and Commercial property owners end up  having to pay more taxes when the base erodes
  • Residential Property tax owners feeling the pinch, want the  "lowest residential" each year.  Since they have more votes they get it,
  • The Commercial tax base erodes further
  • Both Residential and Commercial property owners get him harder
  • Residents sceam "lowest" residential and get it
  • The Commercial tax base erodes more
Right now we are in an endless cycle that only everyone, both Commercial annd Residential.     The answer is we should have a "single" rate but there is absolutely no way to get there from here.

The next best thing is that we pass any increases or decreases along in the same percentage.   That way we end this Residential versus Commercial property owner.   The truth is we are all in this together and an equal increase or decrease would facilitate this.. 

Instead of fighting of rates, we can address issues that will increase the tax base thus lower any increases next year.   Like what:

  1. Philly Plan
  2. Support RKG Housing Plan
There are many more but these two alone would help the tax base.    Jahn, you need to look at this in the big picture.      Opposing forces now working together to increase the tax base is a huge win!!! 

The Oval

Great night at the Oval. Daughter with my friend's son Michael St Pierre.