Print Print
  • Acts
  • 2006
  • Chapter 133 AN ACT RELATIVE TO THE FINANCING AND CONSTRUCTION OF A PUBLIC PARKING GARAGE AND OTHER IMPROVEMENTS IN THE CITY OF WORCESTER.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:

SECTION 1. The general court finds and declares that: (a) the private sector is prepared to invest $470 million into downtown Worcester for the reconstruction of the former Worcester Center, also known as Worcester Common Outlets Mall property, in this act called "project property", by demolishing large portions of the existing buildings, reestablishing the locations of public ways and spaces on and through the project property, constructing 1.5 million square feet of new building space consisting of housing, commercial office, medical/clinical space, retail space and entertainment venues and renovating portions of the 2 existing office buildings and the remaining portions of the existing retail space and the existing parking garages, collectively and in this act called the "private project elements"; (b) the private project elements require public participation in the form of the construction of new public ways and spaces, the modification of Worcester Center Boulevard and the construction of an underground public parking garage, in this act called the "public project elements"; (c) the private and public project elements will significantly enhance the role of the city of Worcester as a transit-oriented urban center serving the economic development and the general welfare of the commonwealth and will stimulate employment and employment training, apprenticeship, health care and related opportunities for all residents of the city and the commonwealth; (d) the public project elements serve the public interest by correcting the public urban design errors of the past and connecting downtown Worcester and the project area with the intermodal transportation center at Union Station, the city's convention center and arena facilities and the Worcester Medical Center; (e) a substantial portion of the public project elements, consisting of the underground public parking garage, shall be constructed underneath substantial portions of the private project elements and shall require common footings, columns, certain building support systems and utility and conduit locations; (f) public convenience, safety and necessity require that the design and construction of the public project elements be accomplished by the same design and construction contractors accomplishing the design and construction of the private project elements; (g) combining the design and construction of the garage portion of the public project elements with the private project elements will produce economies of scale and likely reduce development and operational costs; and (h) the combination of the design and construction of much of the public project elements with the design and construction of the private project elements will serve the public interest as long as certain public policy protections concerning prevailing wages, apprenticeship training, health care, inclusionary participation and the like are appropriately included in the contracts for the design and construction of the public project elements.

SECTION 2. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, but subject to the requirements of this act, the city of Worcester shall secure the design and construction of the public project elements by entering into a contract or contracts, in this act called "contract", with Worcester Renaissance, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company duly registered with the secretary of the commonwealth as a foreign limited liability company, and an owner of record of a major portion of the project property, in this act called the "project developer", or its successors in interest in the project property. The project developer may perform its design and construction obligations under the contract by employing independent design and construction contractors and subcontractors. The contract shall specify the extent to which the project developer shall be responsible for the planning, design and construction of public project elements. Any public project elements undertaken directly by the city, or the commonwealth, shall be subject to the General Laws governing the award of public design and construction contracts. The contract shall require the project developer, in constructing the public project elements, to make good faith efforts to hire Massachusetts firms and residents. The contract shall require the project developer to comply with: (a) sections 26 to 27F, inclusive, of chapter 149 of the General Laws relating to prevailing wages; (b) section 29 of said chapter 149 relative to obtaining security by bond for payment of labor and materials; and (c) section 35 of chapter 2 of the Worcester revised ordinances (1996), the Responsible Employer Ordinance, for the public project elements. The attorney general shall have authority to enforce the requirements set forth in the preceding sentence to the same extent as public construction contracts awarded directly by a municipality.

SECTION 3. The contract shall specify a maximum amount to be paid by the city for the acquisition, design and construction of the public project elements. The contract shall require the city, as part of the administration and management of the project, to retain a construction management firm experienced in major public and private construction projects, which firm shall be responsible for monitoring the construction of the public project elements, performing an independent analysis of the project expenses and determining the proper allocation of the project expenses between the public project elements and the private project elements. The contract shall provide that the city shall pay the total actual costs of the public project elements as determined by the construction management firm up to the maximum amount stated in the contract and that the project developer shall pay an amount in excess of said amount up to the maximum amount stated in the contract. Neither the city nor the commonwealth shall be liable for any public project elements costs beyond the amount specified in the contract. The contract shall provide that no order of taking involving the acquisition of any project property by eminent domain may be recorded until the project developer presents to the city a title report showing all persons who would be entitled to damages by reason of such a taking, together with legally binding indemnifications or waivers from all such persons of any right to damages beyond which is provided in the contract executed under section 7A of chapter 79 of the General Laws. The contract shall also provide that no transfer of funds for the construction of the underground public parking garage, including the demolition of the existing buildings and structures related to such construction, shall be made by the city until the project developer has presented the city with written commitments sufficient, in the city’s opinion, to assure the city that the project developer has obtained legally binding commitments with third parties to occupy and to finance the construction of taxable improvements sufficient, once so constructed and occupied, to produce at least an equal amount of real estate tax and other project revenue as is projected by the city as necessary to cover the cost of the bonds issued by the city for the public project elements.

SECTION 4. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, but subject to the requirements of this act, the city may acquire from the project developer a leasehold interest and related access easements for a term of not less than 60 years in such portion of the project property as may be necessary to locate, construct and operate the underground public parking garage portion of the public project elements. The city shall place the underground public parking garage under the care, custody and control of its off-street parking board, established under chapter 365 of the acts of 1955, which board shall manage and operate the garage as a public parking garage under authority of said chapter 365, except that the rates and charges for the use of the garage shall be determined by the board and may not be delegated to any garage operator but may be delegated to the project developer pursuant to an operating and allocation agreement for the joint operation and management of the public garage and the private parking garages on the project property, and except that the board may operate the underground public parking garage through the operating and allocation agreement pursuant to which an entity selected by the project developer shall jointly operate the public parking garage and the private parking garages on the project property. The city may enter into real estate transactions with the project developer relative to the exchange of street remnants, the conveyance of easements to the city between the street layout lines and the buildings in the project, the conveyance of the parcel owned by the project developer at 36 Washington Square to the city and the ownership, control and maintenance of such portions of the roof of the underground public parking garage as may be necessary or proper, in the judgment of the city, to construct and operate the project.

SECTION 5. The city shall, by eminent domain, acquire all property rights and street easements necessary to locate and construct the public streets, walkways and associated public spaces of the public project elements and shall maintain the same in the public domain and under the care, custody and control of the city. This act shall apply to any order of taking adopted by the city prior to the effective date of this act and, notwithstanding section 3 of chapter 79 of the General Laws or any other general or special law to the contrary, any such order of taking shall be valid if it is recorded in the Worcester district registry of deeds within 30 days of the first issuance of bonds by the city for the public project elements after the contract is executed, but in all events within 60 days after the contract is executed.

SECTION 6. No transfer of funds for any portion of the work on the public project elements shall be made by the city to the project developer until the project developer and the city have executed the contract, which, in addition to the requirements of this act, may contain such terms and conditions, including the recognition of expenses incurred by the city or paid by the project developer prior to the effective date of this act, as the city manager of the city shall deem necessary and proper and upon which the project developer must agree. Notwithstanding any general or special law or administrative rule or regulation to the contrary, for purposes of eligibility for reimbursement for any state grant, otherwise qualifying expenses incurred by the city or paid by the project developer before the effective date of this act shall be deemed to have been incurred or paid as of the effective date of this act. Before the execution of the contract or any amendments thereto, the contract and all amendments shall be submitted to the inspector general for his review and comment. The inspector general shall have 15 days after receipt of the contract and any amendments from the city to review and comment thereon and submit any recommendations to the chairs of the house and senate committees on ways and means and the chairs of the joint committee on municipalities and regional government.

SECTION 7. This act shall take effect upon its passage.

Approved June 30, 2006.