Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Stop Simon Properties Group & Neiman Marcus' "Jim Crow" Skyscraper Reconstruction Project at Copley Place in Boston's Back Bay: Part 5

In its April 1980 application for an $18.8 million Urban Development Action Grant [UDAG] in federal funds from HUD to create a public plaza of open space on the Copley Place Project public land at the corner of Dartmouth & Stuart streets, the City of Boston did not indicate to HUD that it would ever allow in 2011 a subsequent real estate developer to reconstruct the Copley Place project site in a way which encloses the public plaza of open space in a “winter garden”/expanded retail store entrance, that would be adjacent to a 47-story “Jim Crow” skyscraper of luxury residential apartments atop the project’s Neiman Marcus anchor retail store.

Yet according to the HUD handbook:

"In its review of the closeout documents, the Field Office staff may find that the project is not ready for closeout. This can occur for several reasons, for example: 1. The project may not have been carried out in a manner which is consistent with the terms of the Grant Agreement. For example, the UDAG may have been awarded to construct 120 single family homes, yet the closeout documents indicate that the Developer built only 110...If the Field Office staff determine that an impediment has occurred, they should take appropriate steps to deal with the situation...An action by HUD, such as amending the Grant Agreement, may be required...Generally, the Recipient should request a formal amendment in situations where the deviations from the Grant Agreement meet the threshold for a significant amendment as defined in Chapter 1 of this Handbook and as set forth in Section 570.413(b) of the UDAG regulations...

And according to HUD regulations:

§ 570.463 Project amendments and revisions.

(a) Pre-approval revisions to the application. Applicants must submit to the HUD Area Office and to Central Office all revisions to the application. A revision is considered significant if it alters the scope, location, or scale of the project or changes the beneficiaries' population.

The applicant must hold at least one public hearing prior to making a significant revision to the application.

(b) Post preliminary approval amendments. Applicants receiving preliminary approval must submit to the HUD Central Office, a request for approval of any significant amendment. A copy of the request must also be submitted to the Area Office. A significant amendment involves new activities or alterations thereof which will change the scope, location, scale, or beneficiaries of such activities or which, as a result of a number of smaller changes, add up to an amount that exceeds ten percent of the grant. HUD approval of amendments may be granted to those requests which meet all of the following criteria:

(1) New or significantly altered activities must meet the criteria for selection applicable at the time of receipt of the program amendment.

(2) The recipient must have complied with all requirements of this subpart.

(3) The recipient may make amendments other than those requiring prior HUD approval as defined in paragraph (b) of this section but each recipient must notify both the Area and Central Offices of such changes.

[47 FR 7983, Feb. 23, 1982, as amended at 61 FR 11476, Mar. 20, 1996]

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