Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Stop Simon Properties Group & Neiman Marcus' "Jim Crow" Skyscraper Reconstruction Project at Copley Place in Boston's Back Bay: Part 8

As noted in the Meeting Summary of the Copley Place Expansion Project CAC for November 9, 2011, Robin Blatt, MassDOT, claimed that the "the original lease as part of the original” Copley Place “project stipulated that 25% of any units built at the time, for that project only, would have to be affordable,” “this was extinguished when the Harcourt Street residences were constructed,” and “moreover, this part of the lease had a sunset clause that expires after 15 years."

But in the April 30, 1980 "Copley Place Urban Development Action Grant Application" that Boston Mayor Kevin White submitted to HUD there's no public mention of the lease allegedly containing a "sunset clause that expires after 15 years" or the 25% low-income units requirement for the whole Copley Place project included in the 99 year lease being "extinguished when the Harcourt Residences" are constructed.

Yet the "Copley Place Urban Development Action Grant Application To The U.S. Department Of Housing And Urban Development" that Mayor Kevin H. White submitted on behalf of the City of Boston on April 30, 1980 does state the following:

The 1978 EIR did not include an economic impact analysis for Copley Place …In the final months of the year, UIDC [Urban Investment & Development Co.], the Turnpike Authority and the Office of State Planning worked to incorporate many community recommendations into a final air rights lease which would permit development on the site. The 40-year Lease Agreement, renewable to 99 years, was signed in the end of December, and included these additional community benefits:

“…2. Provision for a minimum of 100 units of housing with at least 25% for low income households…

“…UIDC entered into a 99-year agreement with the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority in December, 1978, amended January 1980…”

In addition, page 118 of the City of Boston’s 1980 “Copley Place Urban Development Action Grant Application,” is a copy of a form submitted by the City of Boston, titled “UDAG Form 8: Provision of Housing” which also indicated that 25% of the new units to be constructed are to be “low and moderate;” and states that “Distribution of units determined by Lease Agreement between UIDC and Massachusetts Turnpike Authority…”

And in the “Assurances” section of the City of Boston’s 1980 “Copley Place Urban Development Action Grant Application,” on page 145, the City of Boston also “certifies that it has not knowingly and willfully made or used a document containing any false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement.”

Since one of the "additional community benefits" included as part of the 99 year lease as part of the "many community recommendations" incorporated "into a final air rights lease" is the "at least 25% for low income households" benefit, a reconstruction of the same project that increases the total number of on-site residential units in the Copley Place project in a way that reduces the percentage of low-income household units to below 25% contradicts what the City of Boston stated in its April 30, 1980 UDAG application (although it looks like the proponents of Simon Properties Group and Neiman Marcus’ “Jim Crow” reconstruction/skyscraper are apparently also constructing a legalistic rationalization for scrapping the required 25% low-income units requirement/community benefit on the Copley Place project public land in 2012).

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