Fiscal 2023 DIF Account

Would We Have Been Better Off With Amazon Versus Polar Park


Considering the purchases by Amazon in Worcester and environs the past year:

  • Goddard Drive
  • Greendale Mall
  • Charlton 300 million distribution center
  • Purchased warehouse in Westboro purchased  for 65 million
  • there are others that we are forgetting about

Think if we ever pitched them a $100,000,000 warehouse funded by the taxpayers, they would have come to Worcester and paid real estate taxes/market lease and a ton of jobs ???







Anonymous said…
An Amazon warehouse in that part of the city instead of the ballpark? That’s your vision for the city? 10 years from now the decision to build the ballpark will be regarded as in of the best decisions ever made for Worcester.
Anonymous said…
If the biotech building is in fact built and occupied I would agree with the comment, otherwise the Amazon post would make more sense. My reasoning is in recent memory the City has seen a slow consistent decline in its commercial/industrial base and the City needs to curb that tide and if Amazon fits that bill than I am with the Amazon comment. I was trying to recall the last non hospitality company that has opened and all I could remember was the Cancer Center by St Vincent’s. There have been a few satellite offices of larger firms but generally professional offices have moved out of the City. Besides the continual rotation of restaurants I can’t recall any other businesses We have seen a constant stream of residential development over the last 10-15 years, which most certainly contributed to the population growth, and some of which has occurred in buildings formally commercial. How many times has a residential building been converted to commercial use, with the exception of a home office. So if there is no biotech than I would think Amazon would be a good alternative. Time will tell.
Bill Randell said…
A business that is open year round employing hundreds of people and paying property taxes that would not have required the taxpayers to pay $175 million. Really do not consider that a bad vision.
Common Sense said…
The new "Reactory" biotech park (on the grounds of the former state hospital) has attracted its first tenant. It's a Chinese company opening its first facility
in the U.S. That's about 130 $80,000+ per year jobs. I think the developer is currently negotiating with two other possible tenants. Also, thanks to a $200 million gift the Chan Medical School is now constructing a new research building that will employ several hundred researchers.

The Amazon idea is interesting, but I'm not sure if you're talking about an office building or a fulfillment warehouse. The City did try to lure the Amazon offices here several years ago. They offered to give them a huge piece of land off of Rt. 20. They also agreed to waive all real estate taxes. They put together a video and other promotional material, but Amazon basically threw it in the garbage.

A warehouse wouldn't create the economic spin-off we're seeing with the ballpark.
A bunch of 18-25 year old kids making $15 per hour aren't going to be supporting
Lock 50 or Russo's. They're
not going to be paying $15 for a Nitrogen fueled ice cream at the Worcester Market.

Commercial and retail usually happens after residential. I think the apartments at CitySquare came online before the hotel, restaurants and retail.

I think a logical move for Amazon would be to build a distribution facility at the airport. Based on what I've seen the airport doesn't have any future as a passenger facility. Maybe Massport should just hand over the keys to them.

Anonymous said…
Amazon would have looked at the polluted lots and ran away. The only way any development would happen on those properties is with government intervention.
Common Sense said…
Worried more about the airport than the ballpark. Since Massport bought it 10 years ago, the taxpayers have kicked in close to $54 million to make improvements (grant money). This was on the faint hope that maybe someday in 10 years the airport might provide some relief to Logan. As far as I know Massport doesn't pay a dime in real estate taxes.

The ballpark has been open for 9 months and it has helped attract about $46 million in economic spin-off. We'll probably see that multiplied by 4 in five years. All the fancy accounting statements and terms won't change that.
Bill Randell said…
Grant money is grant money by the FAA and if we did not get it, another airport would have.

Again Massport has lots of monies to cover any losses from ORH and it cost the Worcester taxpayers nothing.

In ten years the airport will be thriving and we will be dipping into General Funds to meet bond payments.
Common Sense said…
I was off on my numbers. If you just include the revised "Cove" project and the the "Table Talk" project the total investment that the ballpark has helped attract so far is $84 million. Other than the company that fuels the planes how much economic spin-off has the airport created?
Bill Randell said…

WBJ reported 97 million economic spinoff in 2019.

When this 84,000,000 hits the city tax rolls let us know
Common Sense said…
Just read in the WBJ that the son of one of the deceased owners of the Woosox is planing to build a modern gas station and convenience store on land he owns near the ballpark. That's more money that can be used to pay the interest on the bonds the City borrowed for the park. This gentlemen also owns three parcels in the neighborhood that he is planning to develop in the next 2-3 years. More tax revenue into the City's coffers. The good news just keeps on coming for the ballpark.
Bill Randell said…
Are you referring to the proposed development on the site of the former Nissen Baking on Quinsigamond Ave??

If so.... That is not in the DIF and will help pay any of the bonds.

Remember only increased revenues from the DIF can go to the bond payments. In fiscal 2022, we question if there will be any increase in real estate taxes in the DIF?
Common Sense said…
You've made the argument that money is going to end up coming out of the City's general budget to cover the interest on the bonds. So if this new gas station is going to pay real estate taxes that would go into the general budget how does that hurt the City? I guess I'm confused.
Bill Randell said…
A new gas station does not hurt the city. We never said that???

We are discussing how this project was sold to the taxpayers as being "revenue neutral". That is what the initial proforma depicted.

If you take monies from outside the DIF to pay the bond payments, it is not "revenue neutral". That is the point here.

Anonymous said…
The simple fact that of the 8 buildings which were part of the original announcement the only two which are close to completion are the public ones. The ball park and the garage. I think that in itself gives rise to at least ask questions about the project paying for itself.
Anonymous said…
We are watching the development in real time as we drive on Madison Street daily and it seems this is taking a lot of time. The foundation on the building is not completed going on four years. If all the development takes this long there is no possible way it pays for itself.
Anonymous said…
The ballpark most likely was constructed so fast because the City had to have it open for the start of last season which is probably one of the reasons for the cost overruns, overtime and second shifts. I thought read that the PawSox lease had expired and they had no where to play. This is unlike the developers time frame which is driven by the market. You would of thought that with the state of the residential market they would be in overdrive to get the housing completed but that does not appear to be the case which makes no sense to me. The office building, hotel an lab buildings are probably years away or might be substituted with something else because of the market conditions. What I have learned from reading about the airport is how much the airlines rely on business travel which is down. I assume that extends to hotels. Another commenter made reference to the 2nd hotel at Washington Sq which has been waiting for 5-6 years now.This must be because the market may not support this many hotels.The office building has similar issues. The City has a glut of class a office space between the glass tower and the UNUM building. Couple that with the fact that a lot of places have transitioned to employees working from home. Who would build a new office building in this environment. This is one persons observation and from this I am questioning if the project will pay for itself, even with the addition of the Cove and Table Talk developments.
Anonymous said…
There is an article in the T&G about the majority of the ownership not selling their interest in the WooSox. One of the reasons for not selling is they want to see their real estate plans come to fruition. The article did not report on their real estate plans. A previous comment spoke about a gas station on Quinsig Ave. I don’t see these owners not selling because of a gas station. This leads me to these questions which I assume the reporter did not ask or did not report, do they have plans to buy additional properties and redevelop them or are they involved somehow with Madison. If this is the case they may have really out bargained the City because they have the best of both worlds.