When colleges decide to expand, they slowly buy up the properties in the targeted area where they want to expand. Sometimes it may take ten years or more, but one by one, they buy the parcels but keep the current use in place and continue to pay taxes. Eventually when the college has control of the entire targeted area, they remove the parcels from the tax rolls and build a new building. I saw this happen on Beaver Street with the newest dorm Clark built a couple years back.
Tonight’s City Council meeting has three pages towards the bottom of properties that remain on the tax rolls owned by non-profits let me point out:
- Assumption (8)
- Clark (7)
- Holy Cross (31)
- Worcester Academy (13)
- WPI (5)
Although they remain on the tax rolls, the real question is how many of these 64 properties will be on the tax rolls ten years from now. Anyone remember the Howard Johnson’s at College Square. Wonder how much money we have lost in taxes on this one parcel that is now a grass field owned by Holy Cross? Does anyone really think 455 Park Ave, where Peppercorn’s is located, and owned by Clark will not eventually be absorbed into Clark?
We all know how hard it is to get a PILOT from the these institutions, maybe we should be working with them now for them to continue paying taxes on these 64 parcels when (not if) they do become part of the underlying business of these institutions and are removed from the tax rolls? On the other hand maybe we should talk about urban farming instead.