The Volpe Center… a backdrop

The Volpe Center… a backdrop

Yes to possible up zonings, No to the current process which produces them.

The Context

The Volpe center is 14 Acres in the middle of Kendall sq.  Its currently houses only the DOT building, with lots of open space all around.    
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_A._Volpe_National_Transportation_Syst...

It's development will greatly impact East Cambridge, Central square and Cambridge as whole, on issues ranging from traffic, housing, pollution, … , to the long term sustainability of the City.

In reference to tonight's meeting regarding the up zoning of the Volpe Center.

I think it's important to state that the current process was initiated by The GSA/DOT (http://www.gsa.gov/portal/category/21273, , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Department_of_Transportation) with the purpose of having a new building for the Department of Transportation (DOT), at an estimate cost of $150 Million (correct me if i’m wrong), build by a developer.  The Developer to which the GSA would sell up to 10 of the 14 up zoned acres of its the land.  

How it goes down

- GSA: we want a new DOT building but we don't want to pay for it 
- Developer: cool we can build that for you, but we need the rest of the land, you gone sell us, to be up zoned for this to happen
- GSA: no problem we'll contact the City of Cambridge to get up zoning and we'll get back to you when we have it
- Developer: we're looking forward to it, make sure you shoot for the moon, we need to make money.

- GSA: City of Cambridge please up zone Volpe Center so we can get our building built, and don't be cheap, and make sure it happens prior to elections
- City of Cambridge: sure, we'll do that for you

Six month later, i.e. tonight,

- City of Cambridge: Dear residents come and speak your mind about an already decide up zoning,  we need to hear from you.
- Residents: here we are and we really don't like the way the whole process is being rushed through.  More thoughts on the matter should happen... including low and middle income housing, open space, K2C2 spec, height,…Master Plan
- City of Cambridge: Thank you very much, we're now gone vote and the vote is 6 to 3 in favor, the up zoning is approved

later...

- GSA + Developers + City : Party!
- Residents:  Is this really what democracy looks like?
- GSA + Developers + City: Yes this is what our democracy looks like!

Conclusion

Up zoning is the process by which developers substantially increase the value of their land (assets), i.e. make much much more money, regardless of the consequences. It's an irreversible process which serves the few by dismissing the many.

ilan
PS:  Was also approved, a 1000 feet tower reflecting the real size for our Councilors egos.