"I want projects that are ready to go now," Mayor Menino said. "I believe we could have some of them in the ground and starting construction within four months."
The plan is to provide funding to stalled developments that have already been permitted and approved to jump start the construction phase. Many development projects throughout Boston are delayed because of financing problems, so the idea is that a loan from the city will help developers raise the rest of the financing they need to start building. Details from the Boston Globe article:
The program, to be funded with federal grants, would fill gaps in financing for approved projects that have failed to move forward because they can't get construction loans. The slowdown has cost the city thousands of construction jobs, Menino said, as well as millions of dollars in unrealized tax revenue.
The mayor said the city will target projects on which work could begin immediately, such as the $700 million redevelopment of the Filene's block in Downtown Crossing. Construction on it was stopped last month because of a $50 million to $100 million financing shortage.City officials are still deciding the size of the loans, which projects could qualify, and whether the funds should be used for projects across the city or concentrated on the largest developments downtown.
Projects mentioned by Menino to possibly receive loans are Kensington Place (Chinatown), Fan Pier (Seaport), and the Downtown Crossing project above. All of these projects have the opportunity to reshape or revitalize neighborhoods and spur economic growth, which is why I think getting them off the ground is hugely important for Boston. I certainly hope some of these projects can get kick started, but let's not fool ourselves either. With a total of only $40 million to lend from the city, my only question is: where's the rest of the money coming from?