MIT proposes 28-story dorm in Kendall Square

Cambridge Day reports the Planning Board considers the proposal - which is not part of MIT's plans for the Volpe land - on Tuesday.



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Can we make GE pay payment in

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Can we make GE pay payment in lieu of taxes? Or is corporate welfare exempt from PILOT program? When are churches going to start paying PILOT fees? This selective PILOT shakedown is ridiculous, either all non-profits pay it or none.

Please tell the class

How much in taxes was paid on that parcel before.

Hint: it incorporates two existing MIT academic buildings.

MIT Proposes Dorm

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Great News. Free up housing for non-students.

When will people learn

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Building dorms doesn't increase housing stock. It just means they accept more students. They could put a hundred 50 story towers up as dorms tomorrow and rents would stay the same and there would still be bidding wars for half million dollar condos in east bumblestick. Just means cramming more people info the city and straining infrastructure even further while getting no tax money to pay for said strain. Good timez

Not a dorm

I had heard that this is a graduate residence. Big difference.

In any case, how many undergrads do you think MIT has? Hint: substantially less than BU or NU or BC. When I went there it was about 4500. There were a similar number of graduate students. There may be more now, but not orders of magnitude more.

So they bring in more students to the economy - so what? Why is that a problem? They spend money, create jobs at the schools they live at, but need little in terms of municipal services. How does a dorm near campus strain infrastructure, exactly? They aren't using the T. Graduate students buy groceries, services, patronize local businesses.

Look at historic figures for "crammed full city" and adjust accordingly.

Yup, about 4500

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MIT has very specific enrollment figures here. There are about 4500 undergrads, and about 7000 grad students. The data going back to the late 1990s shows that the enrollment of undergrads hasn't changed, but grad students have grown slightly (from 5500 to 7000). Undergrads aren't them problem: they're generally housed on campus or in FSILG. Grad students, however, often spill over in to adjacent neighborhoods. The Institute offers relatively inexpensive grad student housing, but not to everyone, so many students instead look for housing nearby, of which there is a rather fixed supply, and when you add demand without adding supply, prices go up.

The idea is that MIT would add significant graduate housing to ease some of this pressure. Some grad students will still live off-campus, but if more live in MIT-provided housing, there's less pressure on the surrounding neighborhoods to push up rents. Whether MIT pays taxes on this is a relatively small issue. The Kendall area around MIT—which is populated by a lot of MIT graduates—generates most of the city's tax revenue, and grad students are often paid on a stipend (so they contribute to the local economy while in school). The city is probably smart enough to realize that the money from MIT doesn't come from directly from PILOTs, but from the dozens of biotech and tech firms in Kendall Square which pay something like 2/3 of the city's taxes and are there pretty much because of MIT.

As for crammed-full city, Cambridge had 121,000 residents in 1950. It has 110,000 today.

Different populations

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I don't disagree with your stance, but one thing that is worth noting when comparing historical density is that we used to live a lot more, well, densely. As in, multiple generations under one roof, with tons of kids.

Per page 6 of this PDF, in 1950 Cambridge had nearly 29,000 kids under 18. Now it has 12,000. So it's gone from about 24% kids to about 11% kids. As of the 2010 data in that chart (which has Cambridge at 105,000 people) there's actually been a net increase of about 1200 adults. If your more recent estimate is correct and we assume that the 11% children figure holds, that would be more like a net increase of somewhere around 6500 adults since the 1950 census, even though the total population is lower. It's kind of hard to wrap your head around how many children there used to be in cities. They were everywhere. Thanks to education, societal shifts, and birth control, we don't see kids like we used to.

And that, of course, makes a difference since an immigrant family of 2 parents and 2 kids (or 3, or 4, or 5) would still only take up one housing unit for 4-7 people. Today, even with people living with roommates into their 40s, the average number of people per dwelling is much lower. And in that same PDF on page 13, we can see that. The average household size dropped from about 3.25 to about 2 from 1950-2000.

So even though there are fewer total people living in the city, changing demographics means that there is a significantly higher demand for actual units of housing. And without increased supply, prices go up.

All very true, but as to for

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All very true, but as to for the accusation that Cambridge is becoming too "crowded," I think the fact that we're no longer living 8 people to a household is exactly why that claim is ridiculous.

The position you're taking

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The position you're taking here is a deeply cynical one. You're basically arguing that even if someone is qualified to go to MIT, and therefore probably among the best and the brightest in the world, we should force them to go to some other school (probably in a different state) because housing them for a few years will bring in a few dollars less in tax revenue than it would if they lived in a private apartment.

And if you consider that students living in this building will rarely, if ever, own cars, and that a substantial portion of city taxes go to paying for roads and road maintenance, the immediate net cost to the city is probably pretty close to zero.

You are putting words in my mouth

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Read my response again. I am not saying we should tell prospective MIT students to pound sand. I am saying creating a dorm is not going to free up housing stock or lower rents. And it won't. Lets wait until the dorm is built and full and then see what the rent prices are at and what the inventory is compared with this day in history. I'll bet my retirement savings that I am right. Building dorms means they will accept more students. Other responses to my post indicate they are accepting more grad students, and want to offer them housing. OK then, I never said UNDERGRAD or GRAD I said students. Their enrollment will increase, or already has, necessitating more housing. Does anyone here really think MIT would build a dorm out of the kindness of their hearts? To ease rent prices for the plebeians?
The taxes or PILOTs are besides the point, we all know colleges and Universities duck those wherever possible, as much as possible. Same with churches...story old as time.
Also like to take this opportunity to say that there is no way in hell there are only 110k people residing in Cambridge. That stat is from a 2010 census, it is 6 years later and the census doesn't capture everyone, I sure as hell have never filled it out. If you believe there are more people at a Michigan home game then reside in the whole city of Cambridge I have a bridge to sell you.
And Swrrly...I went to school in Boston, I lived in the dorms, and I took the T everywhere. I biked, I walked, I used water/sewer, I drove on the streets, I used the parks, public pools, etc. Just because you never left campus doesn't mean all the rest of the students who live here don't/won't. I also had a job the whole 4 years I studied. Took the T to that too.

still don't believe it

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facts have no place in America today anyways. I just don't see how its possible.