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NEWRA Letter to BRA Director on the North End Nursing Home

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Brian Golden, Director                                                                                                                July 22, 2016
Boston Redevelopment Authority
One City Hall Square, 9th Floor
Boston MA 02201

RE: Partners North End Nursing Home

Dear Mr. Golden:

When the BRA argued the case for continued Urban Renewal Zone authority earlier this year, your team emphasized the community benefit of continued strong Land Disposition Agreements (LDAs) whose powers connected directly to the UR Zone extensions. Your argument was this: without continued Urban Renewal powers, the LDAs in these Zones could lose their force, resulting in the loss of protected housing guaranteed by LDAs. Indeed, in persuading the City Council to grant a compromise six-year reauthorization of the UR Zones, the BRA repeatedly drew a stark contrast between a Boston with continued Urban Renewal Zones, where housing set-asides would be protected, and one without Urban Renewal Zones, where housing set-asides would be lost.

Now that the Urban Renewal Zones are enroute to six-year extension, NEWRA wants to remind the BRA of its assertion that LDAs within them will be strong and protected. The Partners/Spaulding North End Nursing Home & Rehabilitation Center sits inside the Downtown/Waterfront Urban Renewal Zone. There is a documented LDA clearly restricting the use of the parcel to nursing home use only. As with low-income housing set-asides, this LDA also should ensure continued operation of a nursing home on this parcel.

We insist that, especially after the Urban Renewal Zone extension, this LDA must remain in full effect and should be enforced strictly by the BRA, just as affordable housing set-asides are enforced. Previous generations of North End folks fought long and hard to get a nursing home (the only one in the downtown area) onto Fulton Street. Partners – or any owner – should not be able to just walk away from this LDA commitment.

NEWRA and the residents of the North End hope you are firm as you discuss the situation with Partners. This is an excellent opportunity for the BRA to demonstrate its commitment to community-serving LDAs and to the protection of the populations they are supposed to serve. If there is any group that deserves the full protection of these LDAs, it’s our seniors. If these LDAs cannot protect our most vulnerable population, what positive power do they and the associated Urban Renewal Zones really have?

Thank you,

Ford Cavallari
President, North End/Waterfront Residents’ Association

cc:   Mayor Marty Walsh
Boston City Council
Representative Aaron Michlewitz
Senator Joseph Boncore

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