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3-15-04 - Ideas for development run gamut from mixed-use high rises to cafes along brook ... Read more
DAY 1 STORIES
Older, smaller buildings don’t yield
GREG DERR/The Patriot Ledger
|The Fleet Bank in the former Granite Trust Building, a key fixture in Quincy Square.|
One of the most significant ways residents could benefit from a revitalized
Quincy Center has nothing to do with shopping or restaurant options.
It’s all about money.
In suburbs and rural regions, new development allows towns to increase their tax base. That additional money helps officials maintain services and in some cases add new ones.
But in cities like Quincy, which have limited space for new development, one of the only ways to increase the tax base is to redevelop what already exists. In other words, replace aging, less valuable buildings with new, more expensive ones.
A Patriot Ledger analysis shows Quincy Center property owners pay more than $4.2 million in property taxes a year. The Ledger examined properties on Hancock, Chestnut, Foster, Maple, School, Temple and Washington streets; Cottage and Faxon avenues; and Parkingway.
Officials say they could be getting more revenue from a rejuvenated downtown.
Many buildings in Quincy Center, especially those on Hancock Street between Granite and School streets, are one-story, older buildings. Redevelopment could make them worth more, and therefore mean more taxes for the city.
“Take some of these stores, they need rehabilitation, they need to be brought up to date. Some of them need gutting,” Assessor Marion A. Fantucchio said. “Let’s say you have two or three little shops. That area could be gutted out and made into one business.”
Take this example: Angelina M. LaFerla owns several one-story buildings from 1620-1626 Hancock St. that were gutted by fire in 2001. The buildings remain charred and are empty.
It’s hard to say what the property might be worth if it were redeveloped, but it’s a sure bet it would be more than today’s value, especially if a new building were taller than one story.
LaFerla could not be reached for comment.
Buildings that are not redeveloped could also become more valuable, and therefore pay more in taxes, if Quincy Center were revitalized.
Like LaFerla, property owners with vacancies are eligible for tax abatements, which means less tax revenue for the city. The fewer vacancies, the fewer abatements.
In addition, the value of commercial property is based on a number of factors, including rent charged to tenants. If downtown real estate was in greater demand, landlords might charge tenants more.
“It would affect the value of the property, ultimately,” Fantucchio said.
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