Town unhappy with FSU property acquisitions

Dale Hamel, executive vice president, was called before the Framingham Board of Selectmen to discuss FSU’s recent property purchases. (Photo by Melina Bourdeau)

Some Framingham residents have been “concerned” with FSU’s recent property acquisitions, according to town selectman Charles Sisitsky.

Following numerous phone calls regarding FSU’s purchases of town properties, the Framingham Board of Selectmen requested to meet with Executive Vice President Dale Hamel.

Sisitsky said there seemed to be “no rhyme or reason” to FSU’s purchases, and the board wanted to discuss FSU’s future plans.

During the meeting, Hamel explained FSU’s recent acquisitions, according to Sisitsky. Hamel defended the purchases by explaining the services FSU provides the Framingham community, and promised to keep the town informed about FSU’s future plans.

Property acquired by FSU can no longer be taxed because the land is owned by the state, according to Hamel.

He said the town does receive an adjustment for state-owned property through state aid. However, “It’s not near what the town would have received through property tax assessment.”

The board requested FSU make up for the loss in revenue through a Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) deal.

Hamel said he “politely and respectfully” declined the request because of the “public benefits” FSU provides the town.

“There’s other avenues in which we support the town, apart from Payments In Lieu of Taxes,” said Hamel.

Hamel said FSU offers “various programs that impact the town,” such as the CHOICE internship, and the school has also contributed to the Loring Arena renovation project and the MetroWest College Planning Center.

Sisitsky said the town would like to see FSU give back to the community by expanding toward the downtown area, a part of town that could use revitalizing.

Hamel said there has been “a desire” for FSU to invest in property downtown, “which is a little ironic, to be frank, because again if we were to purchase it, it would come off of the tax rolls.”

While the administration has looked into investing in downtown Framingham for projects such as residence halls, Hamel said students want to remain on campus.

Hamel added administrators have also considered leasing property downtown so that it remains on the town’s tax rolls. He said FSU has “tested the market through a RFP [Request for Proposals] process” to see if the space available downtown would meet FSU’s needs.

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