The North Plymouth Terrace project is well under way, with the first condominiums already sold.
The $6.5 million complex at the corner of N. Plymouth and W. Main St. will have 24 townhouses and an office building. It’s a great addition to the strip filled with so many ugly surface parking lots. It will add the number of residents living downtown and eventually boost the property tax rolls.
But it still bothers me the developer got mucho taxpayer support. The people buying the fancy condos will also get perks. The city sold the land to John Summers, for only $1 and provided more than a half million dollars of infrastructure improvements.
What’s more, the townhouses, which start at $199,900, get 9 years of property tax abatements. The city has a program to entice home owners downtown. People who buy the townhouses pay 10 percent of their property tax bill the first year, 20 percent the second year, and so on.
Downtown’s population is booming with people willing to pay sky-high rents and a couple hundred thousand dollars for condos. They’re paying for a lifestyle. Ten years of data on the property tax abatement program shows it hasn’t markedly increased home ownership downtown and the homes that have been built are expensive. If anything, property tax breaks should be extended into challenged neighborhoods, where you really have to entice people to live. (City Council may do this.)
The people who own the Corn Hill townhouses, built in the 1980s, just a few blocks away, have to pay their full tax bill. The North Plymouth Terrace deal doesn’t seem fair – or necessary.
Links of the Day:
– The Sandy Hook child victims each had two to 11 bullet wounds.
– “The bar for how horrific a mass shooting needs to be has gotten so high” for the nation to pay attention.
– Better care for the mentally ill won’t be enough to stop mass shootings, experts say.