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Developers to help fund districts' infrastructure

Boston Herald (MA) May 6, 2005


Downtown Boston's skyline was built in part with the help of tax breaks doled out to various developers.

Now City Hall is looking to tap a new tax incentive to spur construction in pioneering areas, from a traditionally industrial section of South Boston to Roxbury.

City development czar Mark Maloney confirmed yesterday that his Boston Redevelopment Authority is studying the use of a development tax break created by Beacon Hill last year.

So-called "district improvement financing" would divert property taxes spun off by new development to help pay off roads, parking garages, green space and other infrastructure.

City Hall's development arm is looking to release in the next four to six weeks a set of guidelines for the possible use of this tax break, Maloney said.

"This might be a way of to help address the issue of the significant cost of infrastructure in some of the communities we would like to see developed," Maloney said.

Initially, city development officials are looking at using the tax break in the Fort Point Channel area of South Boston and in some areas of Roxbury.

A top candidate for the tax sweetener would be the Fort Point's so-called 100 acres, Maloney said. A mix of housing, research space and other development is being sketched out for that stretch of parking lots and undeveloped land.

Gillette, whose plant stands next to the 100 acres, and the U.S. Postal Service, which owns a large parking lot, are among the stakeholders drawing up plans.

Maloney wouldn't definitively rule out using this tax break to help push along long-stalled plans for building out Fan Pier, but noted that the city doesn't consider waterfront property to be a prime candidate.

Similarly, Maloney wouldn't rule out using this tax incentive around Fenway Park, where the Boston Red Sox have expressed interest in a parking garage.

Copyright 2005 The Boston Herald

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