JPI of Texas, whose local office is in Southboro, had 1000 apartments scheduled to be built in Massachusetts; a good chunk were “affordable housing.”
In Arlington, the Town bought the land and buildings of the former Symmes Hospital, which had closed due to the way policy decisions and reimbursement rates have affected community hospitals. The town of Arlington put $12,000,000.00 into the purchase, believing that the money would be made back, with more, through real estate taxes. According to Arlington’s director of planning:
Arlington voters approved a $14 million Proposition 2 debt-exclusion override in 2002 to buy the former Symmes Hospital. JPI had demolished five townhouse buildings on the 18-acre site, installed utilities and paved the road to make way for the mixed-use development.
“We spent lots of money to get the hospital site to the point where we could sell it, and we expected to pay off the debt with real estate taxes generated by the new develpement,” said Kevin O’Brien, Arlington’s director of planning and community development. “So it’s a bit of a problem for us now.”
Arlington put in the utilities, took down buildings, got the site “shovel ready.” And then the credit crunch hit. To quote the developer, JPI:
JPI, one of the nation’s largest multifamily developers with local offices in Southboro, has told officials in Arlington and Ashland and Chelsea that projects in the pipeline totaling more than $200 million will have to wait until the financial markets open up.
“It’s a tremendously difficult credit environment to get construction loans,” said Thomas O’Brien, JPI’s Northeast managing partner.
How about some federal “stimulus funds” for this shovel ready project? I drive by it every day. Just blowing dirt, and a fence, where a hospital and Arlington’s largest employer once stood.
A local website, YourArlington.com has some great pictures of the demolition of the former tuberculosis sanitorium and hospital at: http://www.yourarlington.com/j… [If one of the tech wizards wants to embed these – well, my thanks to you.]
At any event, for more about JPI and the several “shovel ready projects” that would employ Massachusetts workers and create Massachusetts housing – if only banks hadn’t yanked credit, and if only the money given to banks was leading to renwed normal business lending:
If there are legislators or members of the Governor’s staff reading this, how about getting credit back in place for JPI? THAT would bring at least some jobs our way – shovel ready!