State rep wants dorms in Government Center redevelopment reports that Aaron Michlewitz, who represents the increasingly student filled North End and Beacon Hill, says the BRA needs to consider requiring dorms in the proposed garage re-do.

Perhaps Rep. Michlewitz is too young to remember when Beacon Hill residents managed to squash Suffolk's plans to turn the old MDC building across from the State House into a dormitory.



Free tagging: 



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This Town exists for more than to continually pander to the needs of the students.


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They quashed plans, not squashed them! It's a good old school word, let's keep it going.

Yeah, that, too

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I was thinking of the tremendous weight brought to bear by Beacon Hill nobs and pictured something like an old Monty Python 16-ton weight coming right down on the plans.

Sister words

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Quash nominally came first, from a Latin word for 'shake or shatter' (same root that gave us 'concussion'). Squash is a variant grown out of the early-frenchified version which stuck an es- in front to indicate '[utterly/thoroughly] break/negate'.

Quash/squash have both been part of english for centuries but quash has a distinct legal usage nowadays and so sounds more formal to our 21st century ears.

Grad students?

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As a neighbor to grad student housing - that may be a solution - put grad students in there and free up housing for undergrads away from the civilized people.

Don't take offense undergrads - I can assure you my friends and I were as uncivilized as you are when we were your age. It's a rite of passage (not that it makes it right).

how exactly do they do that?

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How exactly do college students "help support this city"?

Their tuition isn't taxable.
The facilities they use aren't taxable.
The supplies, equipment, and services they require aren't taxable.
They don't, by and large, show up on the censuses, so we don't get federal money despite them living here 3/4 of the year
They flood the streets with cars that are registered, insured, and taxed out of state
They don't vote
They by and large don't give a crap about the area/neighborhood they live. They'll scream "GO BOSTON!" at the local bar, but shit all over their neighborhood and not get involved.
They place an enormous amount of load on the city's emergency services, chiefly police and EMS. Ever talked to someone from EMS about the first few weekends in September?

Meanwhile, the war chests BU and Northeastern have continue to grow, administrators and senior faculty rake in crazy salaries, and everyone else is left table scraps.

Not to dispute any of your points, but ....

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The institutions which these students attend do employ large numbers of people, all of whom do pay taxes, register their cars here, vote, etc.

Those employees in turn buy things at local stores and support local entertainment and cultural venues. I'm betting when local colleges expand, they hire local companies to do the work, which in turn further benefits the local economy.

Those colleges have also helped the local economy escape some of the impact of economic downturns in the rest of the country by spinning off companies based on their research (think in particular of high tech in the 1960s through 1990s and biotech today). And let's not forget the benefits of living in a city with some of the best - university-based - hospitals in the world.

I wonder if anybody's ever done a study comparing the economic benefit of being the Athens of America vs. the costs to the city (both financial and angst-wise) of hosting those facilities.

They also support small businesses near campuses

If it weren't for the nearby university, my area would not have as many independently-owned eateries or coffee places or other small businesses.

These employ a fair number people and support a number of local families.

Exactly, plus a lot of those

Exactly, plus a lot of those are assumptions. I knew plenty of people who voted and registered their cars in Boston when going to school here. Plus once they are out of the dorms where do you thing the rent money goes?

Very little incremental cost

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There is little cost to the universities being here - or the businesses many harp on for that matter - 1/3 of boston's budget goes to the schools and that cost comes 100% from about 10% of Boston's population, another 1/3 goes to fixed costs - which is mostly pensions and assessments from the state for things like MBTA, charter schools etc. and only a small portion of the final 1/3 goes to marginal costs of having universities, businesses etc. in the city (and the businesses pay about 60% of the property taxes). Of the entire $2.6 billion budget - possibly only 5-10% is attributable to the fact that we have to offer extra services to commuters, visitors, students, incoming patients etc.

All Boston private companies

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All Boston private companies (put your company here) employee a lot of people who buy things, employee local contractors etc. just as colleges do. The big difference is that these companies also pay taxes.

Hell of a lot fewer of them here

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If you didn't have the universities.

But, hey, you could always move to such "unblighted by university" environs as Baltimore or Detroit.

I think you'd be happy there.

To be fair and honest ...

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... it's their dogs that shit all over the neighborhoods. The students puke all over the neighborhoods. Well, they do also pee sometimes.

Just as soon as they start acting like human beings

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We'll treat them as such. In the meantime...

PS - Swirly - that's what I said - put the grad students (who are probably currently occupying some level of dorms) in the new housing in government center and keep the undergrads in the current dorms - which are presumably away from civilization.

Right goal, wrong idea. We

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Right goal, wrong idea. We should be encouraging Suffolk to build more dorms, not asking a private developer to. It’s A) Suffolk’s responsibility to deal with the problem and not an unrelated developer; and B) Suffolk can do a better job policing their students in their own dorm than they can in a private residence. A private dorm would just shuffle the problem from one area to another and make some random company responsible for it.

Not to mention how economically unrealistic it is to even ask, but that's comment for another day...

Temporary Residents or Future Bostonians?

Instead of penning students up in dorms, isn't there some way that the city & universities can INTEGRATE the students into the community? There has to be some way to get students to think more conscientiously about their neighborhoods and be good neighbors.

I hate that Boston universities churn out students every year, yet a large majority of them have lived in dorms on campus and have NO ties to the city other than the immediate area around campus. In many cases, students may as well be living in suburban enclaves within the city.

We have a situation here where Boston can treat students as children living in the city for a short amount of time that must be seperated from the general community OR treat them as residents and attempt to make them Bostonians who have ties with the city that go deeper than just 'oh thats where I went to school.'


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I will be happy to welcome more dorm, classroom ,athletic, space for the myriad schools that we have in the city when they start to pay their fair share. The pay no taxes, their payments in lieu of taxes are embarrassingly small, their demands on services are high.Please note that when the city celebrated the recent success of the sports teams it was the students who causede the most trouble.
The city is more than 50% tax free property. That is an unsustainable model. All should be required to pay, schools, hospitals, churches.
By the way Harvrd's endowment is largeer than the GDP of many coutries yet they give the city next to nothing

More information?

I will be happy to welcome more dorm, classroom ,athletic, space for the myriad schools that we have in the city when they start to pay their fair share. The pay no taxes, their payments in lieu of taxes are embarrassingly small, their demands on services are high.

Care to supply some actual numbers for costs of "demands on services", payment in lieu of taxes, etc. versus the economic impact of employers that provide a lot of good-paying jobs? (as I believe Adam requested, above)? It would really help guide this discussion.

Payments in lieu of taxes

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The figures below are from the City of Boston Website. The easiest way to get them is to enter payments in lieu of taxes in the search box. The last figure in each line is the total from that institution. The first number is the cash given by the institution.
Property Tax
Credits TOTAL
Berklee College of Music $148,421 $88,967 $121,883 $359,271
Boston College $289,351 $289,351
Boston University $4,980,168 $4,980,168
Emerson College $137,917 $137,917
Harvard University $2,049,849 $2,049,849
MA College of Pharmacy $169,119 $56,373 $225,491
NE Law Boston $13,125 $13,125
Northeastern University $30,571 $30,571
Showa Institute $119,684 $119,684
Simmons College $15,000 $15,000
Suffolk University $356,657 $14,637 $371,294
Tufts University $151,673 $151,673
Wentworth Institute $30,620 $9,117 $500 $40,237
TOTAL $8,492,155 $169,094 $122,383 $8,783,632
Property Tax
Credits TOTAL
Beth Israel Deaconess Med Ctr $167,000 $167,000
Boston Medical Center $126,767 $78,160 $15,630 $220,558
Brigham & Women's Hospital $1,576,861 $92,086 $1,668,947
Caritas St. Elizabeth's Hospital $24,926 $7,846 $32,772
Childrens Hospital $111,921 $62,500 $75,579 $250,000
Dana Farber Cancer Institute $97,211 $32,404 $129,614
MA Bio‐Medical Research Corp $636,106 $180,000 $816,106
Mass General Hospital $1,830,102 $97,848 $267,155 $2,195,105
Spaulding Rehab Hospital $76,739 $76,739
Tufts Medical Center $880,283 $1,407,017 $2,287,300
TOTAL $5,527,917 $1,957,861 $358,365 $7,844,142
Property Tax
Credits TOTAL
Bay Cove Human Services $14,704 $14,704
Boston Symphony Orchestra $82,629 $27,543 $110,172
Bostonian Foundation $18,552 $6,184 $24,736
David Ramsey VFW $449 $150 $598
Domicilia $4,932 $4,932
Harvard Vanguard $286,359 $286,359
Massport $16,616,072 $16,616,072
MASCO $97,562 $32,521 $130,082
Mental Health Programs $43,710 $43,710
Museum of Fine Arts $64,661 $24,850 $9,889 $99,400
Noble Schoolhouse $16,007 $16,007
North End Nursing Home $56,000 $56,000
Trimount Foundation $17,884 $17,884
TOTAL $17,319,520 $91,247 $9,889 $17,420,657
FY10 TOTAL $31,339,593 $2,218,202 $490,637 $34,048,431
Cultural/Other Institutions
Educational Institutions
Medical Institutions

Isn't Massport generous!

Isn't Massport generous with its use of fees applied to tickets and rents received from airlines, rental agencies, and concessions! Better than going to management bonuses. Several others on the list, like Northeastern, not so much generosity.