February 2012


Urban Renewal Plan, Cooperation Agreement and Zoning Ordinance

In 1965, the Planning Board and the City Council adopted and approved the Kendall Square Urban Renewal Plan. That Plan identified properties to be acquired, various land reuses, Plan objectives, conformed to the "general plan" of the City of Cambridge, design principles and development guidelines, design standards, developers' obligations, duration and termination.

Concurrently, the City of Cambridge entered into a Cooperation Agreement which provides for the abandonment of certain rights-of-way by the City, the termination of utility easements and licenses, the construction of public improvements by the Authority, the making of in-lieu-of-tax payments on acquired buildings by the Authority, the commitment to a local financial share and grants-in-aid provided by the City and an obligation of the City to recommend to the appropriate boards and commissions rules and ordinances regulating land uses (zoning).

In 1977, after a seven year delay caused by the abrupt withdrawal by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as the developer of the land north of Broadway, the project was re-planned and a zoning amendment (i.e., the MXD zoning district) prepared by the Authority and recommended by the Planning Board was approved by the City Council.

Since the inception of the Plan, there have been six amendments approved by the Authority, the Planning Board and the City Council.

Amendment No. 1 (1977) recognized the change of redevelopers of Parcel 1 from NASA to the Department of Transportation (DOT). The development rights were limited to Parcel 1, while Parcel 2 was set aside for private development focused on industrial reuse.

Amendment No. 2 (1981) provided for the development of office uses north of Broadway, recognizing a failed attempt on the part of the Authority's original selected designated redeveloper to attract industrial users.

Amendment No. 3 (1993) provided for the expansion of Biogen, Inc. on Parcel 2 by allowing manufacturing of biotechnology and pharmaceutical uses; increased the amount of office uses allowed district-wide and added 475,000 square feet for buildings to be constructed north of Broadway; increased the height limitation from 80 feet to 90 feet; and extended the term of the Plan by fifteen years to 2010. In 1993, the City Council in approving Plan Amendment No. 3 by Resolution restated its various obligations under the Cooperation Agreement to take action on all measures necessary to effectuate the Plan.

Amendment No. 4 (1997) provides for additional hotel use on Parcel 3 by increasing the cumulative gross floor area in the Hotel/Motel classification from 250,000 square feet to 440,000 square feet. This amendment allowed for the construction of the 221-room,
185, 356 square foot Residence Inn at Six Cambridge Center.

Amendment No. 5 (2001), a minor Plan change, provides for additional residential use on Parcel 3 by increasing the maximum gross floor area for the Cambridge Center Project in the Mixed-use Development (MXD) district from 2,773,000 square feet to 2,973,000 square feet. This amendment will allow the redeveloper to construct 200,000 square feet of residential uses.

Amendment No. 6 (2004), a minor Plan change, provides for an increase of 29,100 square feet of Gross Floor Area (GFA) in the Project Area.

After the adoption of the MXD zoning district, there have been amendments to the Zoning Ordinance corresponding to Urban Renewal Plan Amendments Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8 (pending).

Amendment No. 7 (2005), a minor Plan change was approved by the Department of Housing and Community Development and the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, but not implemented since the requisite Zoning Amendment adding 75,000 square feet to the Residential Use Category was not approved.

Amendment No. 8 (2010), a minor Plan change has been submitted to the Department of Housing and Community Development and to the Director of MEPA for concurrence. A Zoning Amendment received a positive recommendation by the Planning Board and has been submitted to the City Council.

Development Agreements and Land Disposition Agreements
The Authority and its designated redeveloper, Boston Properties, have entered into two Development Agreements. The first Agreement, executed in 1979, identified the development rights and controls for the land south of Broadway (Parcel 3 & 4). The second Agreement, executed in 1982, identified the development rights and controls for the land north of Broadway (Parcel 2). These agreements define in specific detail the development rights and obligations of Boston Properties and of the Authority. A master plan framework and concept design plan is incorporated into both Agreements. In addition, supplemental land disposition contracts (SLDC) and deeds govern the redevelopment and disposition of all individual tracts of land from the Authority to Boston Properties. To date, seventeen (17) such SLDC's have been executed. It is anticipated that the final three SLDC's for a residential development on Parcel 3; for a commercial development on Parcel 2; and for a residential development on Parcel 6 will be executed. In addition, some type of disposition document will be prepared and executed for Parcel 5 and for Parcel 7 upon the completion of the open space improvements, as well as Parcel 6 upon the commencement of residential development.