***KEVIN MCCREA ON INCREASING DEVELOPMENT IN BOSTON***
Candidate for Mayor Kevin McCrea says that “The Mayor through his policies, actions and inactions is keeping development from happening here in Boston, and has left us with some major problems in key areas of the City which are going to take years to overcome.”
Things that the City should do immediately to foster growth and create jobs include:
1) Take developers who have money such as Chiofaro and Raymond Properties who are proposing taking down currently profitable and tax paying buildings such as Government Center Garage and connect them with already started projects who are having difficulty with financing such as Downtown Crossing. We should finish already permitted buildings before tearing down existing ones leaving more gaping scars in our urban fabric.
2) Sell the excess land and properties that the City owns. Currently the City of Boston and the Boston Redevelopment Authority own hundreds, if not more than a thousand properties that are not paying taxes and could be developed. There are multiple advantages to this.
a) Bring in needed money to City coffers
b) Spread out the real estate tax levy to more people thus lessening the burden on current taxpayers
c) Spur construction and hence jobs. Construction is still occurring where properties are available
d) Lower housing costs by increasing supply. Housing costs are still high here in Boston, stunting
all economic growth
e) Reduce political power of incumbents. Some of the largest campaign contributors are
developers and their allies who are hoping for favorable land deals. If the City exited from the
land banking business, the interest and influence of these contributors would be lessened.
3) Appoint a Citizens Advisory Council for Turnpike Air Rights Parcels 12-13-14-15. The Mayor has been holding up development of these valuable pieces of land for over 6 months despite the fact that four developers have paid hundreds of thousands in fees and made multiple proposals to start building over the Turnpike near Massachusetts Avenue. Developers Weiner, Carpenter, Chiofaro, and Trinity have paid almost half a million dollars to have their proposals reviewed while the Mayor and the BRA have been holding the process up. These proposals will create jobs, bring together the Back Bay and Fenway, and create needed revenue for the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority.
4) A legally enforceable Master Plan for the City of Boston needs to be created. Numerous developers and financiers refuse to do business in Boston because of the “banana republic” zoning regulations we have here. No developer is going to invest tens of millions of dollars in Boston for development, when the Mayor and the BRA can easily degrade the value of their property by approving a larger or more onerous development that devalues their property despite what current zoning regulations would indicate.
Without the rule of law, a developer has no recourse and hence won’t risk major investment in the area.