Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Boston gives State Street $12m subsidy to build parking garage and office

Three days after the close of the public comment period, the city of is making it known that Boston is going to be giving $12m in "blighted district" tax breaks to State Street bank in order to make the 1 Channel Center St. Project happen (if you missed it, see this post for details on the project).  The Globe points out that "State Street reported net income of $1.92 billion in 2011 and paid its chief executive, Joseph Hooley, total compensation of $16 million, according to government filings".

In a statement, Mayor Menino wrote “State Street Bank & Trust Co is Boston’s seventh largest employer and keeping this economic giant in the city not only ensures that we are retaining jobs, but is a key to attracting new jobs and creating an economically successful and vibrant city."
 
Most Fort Pointers I've spoken with are against the project for a variety of reasons including:
  • The project contains a close to 800-space parking garage which, for more than 10 years, had been slated to be underground.
  • The buildings have dead ground floors without significant retail space for shops and restaurants.The small amount of retail faces away from existing buildings and won't help foot traffic to small businesses on neighboring streets.
  • The developer and the BRA do not have a comprehension transportation plan to deal with the increase in traffic.  The light at A Street already backs up all the way to Barlow's on many nights.  In a study done by traffic engineers hired by a developer, traffic at many street lights in Fort Point is projected to degrade to an "F" grade over the coming years.  A St. at Congress, for example, will be in both in the morning and the evening.   This is based on studies using the most recent data, which is from 2008.
  • There is no residential as part of this project.  The 100 Acres plan called for a 1/3rd residential density as its objective and the current build out is way below this.  In addition, the BRA has been blocking residential projects (for example this project on Congress St they squashed earlier this Spring).  With a continual loss of residents and few new residential projects being allowed by the BRA, Fort Point risks becoming an office-only neighborhood.
  • The building will be a huge, unattractive end cap to Channel Center street, further making it unlikely to attract retail and restaurants which have been promised to residents for years.
  • It has been said that $1.2 million was paid for “Community Benefits” but no one from the city or the BRA will discuss details of this money with the community and no plans have been made public for its use in Fort Point.

The Globe article on the tax breaks for State Street:

http://www.boston.com/businessupdates/2012/06/11/state-street-corp-get-tax-break-for-waterfront-building/GzwNCt5tvZlu9OLA45txQO/story.html

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