Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Developer type claims to have lost 30 acres of wasteland which existed for up to 30 years in Cambridgeport.

Bob La Trémouille reports.

1. General.
2. Bad Guy, November 19, 2007.
3. Your editor, November 15, 2007.
4. Bad Guy, November 15, 2007.
5. Your editor, November 15, 2007.
6. Allston Community Development Corporation, November 15, 2007.

1. General.


The following exchange started on the Cambridgeport listserve and continued.

It has reached the point of typical absurdity when dealing on development matters.

This is a typical tactic from the development lobby. Wear down the good guy with bizarre detail. To respect such demands belittles the statement of the good guy.

In this case, I compared Harvard's landbanking at the Shaw's on Western Avenue in Allston to the highly destructive landbanking which MIT did in Cambridgeport starting in about 1968 with the purchase of the Simplex properties.

MIT created a grassy expanse which reached 30 acres in the middle of one of the most densely developed cities in the United States.

This wasteland destroyed the viability of Central Square in Cambridge by destroying hundreds if not thousands of jobs and the money those people would spend in Central Square.

The wasteland was a blight on Cambridge starting with the eastern side of Brookline Street and extending blocks over to and behind what was then the NECCO factory at Albany and Mass. Ave.

The remnants on Brookline Street are blocks of construction from the 90's to 00's where for decades there was nothing but grass.

So the bad guy wants me to spell out to the bad guy where this 30 acre wasteland was for a period of up to 30 years in this neighborhood.

This sort of question from an outsider makes excellent sense.

This sort of question from somebody who knows Cambridge is an insult. You do not lose 30 acres of wasteland in one of the country's most densely developed cities.

The following exchange followed based on my analysis.

You may read from the bottom if you wish or just start with the nonsense.

Thank you.

2. Bad Guy, November 19, 2007.

[censored to protect the guilty] wrote:

Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2007 21:36:23 -0500
From: [censored to protect the guilty]
To: "Bob LaTrémouille"
Subject: Re: [cportneighbors] Governor Patrick Coming to Affordable Housing in Near Part of Allston Tomorrow

I am not telling you anything, rather I am asking you a question to which your reply was not responsive. Addresses on Brookline or "I don't know" would be examples of responsive answers. If you want to provide additional history or links beyond the answer to my specific question, that's fine by me.

3. Your editor, November 15, 2007.

On 11/15/07, Bob LaTrémouille wrote:
Golley Gee, I guess we are now being told that
(1) the 70's, 80's and 90's did not happen and
(2) Central Square was not destroyed by the landbanking in Cambridgeport by MIT, and
(3) there was never a wasteland of many, many acres east of Brookline Street.

I am afraid I have always lived in reality and we did live in reality during that outrage.

4. Bad Guy, November 15, 2007.

[censored to protect the guilty] wrote:

Do you know which of the buildings on Brookline St. are part of the MIT landbank, and if there are plans floating out there somewhere for what MIT is going to do with its land in the future?

5. Your editor, November 15, 2007.

On 11/15/07, Bob LaTrémouille wrote [to the Cambridgeport listserve]:

For your information.

These units are off Everett Street in Allston between the Mass. Pike and North Beacon Street. A lot is going on in this part of Allston which impacts Riverside and Cambridgeport.

Everett Street is the major street which crosses Western Avenue just before the Shaw's Shopping Center.

You will recall that Harvard's landbanking has turned the Shaw's Shopping Center into a ghost town worthy of MIT's landbanking in Cambridgeport. Harvard is trying and apparently succeeding in forcing affordable housing tenants from the project at North Harvard and Western to the Shaw's shopping center as part of Harvard's expansion in Allston.

The project where the governor is coming is three to four blocks south of the Shaw's site.

The project where the governor is coming is quite close to Union Square, Allston.

Additionally, many people are interested in affordable housing and could be in this nearby townhouse type of construction.

6. Allston Community Development Corporation, November 15, 2007.

Bob Van Meter <> wrote:
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2007 13:01:49 -0500 (EST)
From: Bob Van Meter <>
Subject: Governor Patrick Coming to the Brian J. Honan Apartments Tomorrow

Governor Patrick Coming Tomorrow to the Brian J. Honan Apartments

Please join Governor Patrick and Mayor Menino, Rep. Kevin Honan and the Allston Brighton CDC at the Brian J. Honan apartments at 33 Everett Street in Allston tomorrow, Friday November 16, at 11 AM. Governor Patrick has chosen the site for the release of his Affordable Housing Bond Bill.

The Brian J. Honan apartments are 50 units of affordable rental housing for families, developed and owned by the Allston Brighton CDC. The housing was named in honor of the late Allston Brighton City Councilor Brian J. Honan who was instrumental in securing the site for the homes that now bear his name.

The Brian J. Honan Apartments were made possible by a unique partnership including suppport from the City of Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Harvard University, the Home Funders Collaborative, Massachusetts Housing Partnership, Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation, Bank of America, the Massachusetts Life Insurance Community Investment Initiative , Mass Development, Boston Community Capital and the Renewable Energy Trust of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.

Allston Brighton CDC
320 Washington Street
Brighton, Massachusetts 02135

[They had some lovely graphics which got lost]