The Urban Redevelopment Authority indicated its general approval, yesterday, of Cambridge City Council plans to undertake a renewal project in the Kendall Square area in conjunction with the possible location there of the NASA electronics center.
This is very good news for the Council, as location of the center in Cambridge would be impossible except as NASA could obtain the land through the city, as part of a renewal project.
Under the Urban Redevelopment Act, the city could take the land in the proposed 50-acre site by right of eminent domain. They would be required only to provide just compensation to the owners.
Mayor Edward A. Crane '35 indicated that if NASA had to buy out the predictable number of recalcitrant land-holders, the site would be far too expensive.
The URA also recommeded that Cambridge file an application for approval of a single project, including both the NASA center and the other buildings, whatever they might be. There had been some thought that the Council might submit plans for two separate but adjacent projects.
Paul J. Frank, acting director of the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, returned from talks with federal renewal officials yesterday, to report their recommendations to the City Council.
The Council then directed the redevelopment committee to proceed with a feasibility study. The committee will file a preliminary application with the URA, and once it has approval of that, prepare a detailed application for final ratification.
Crane said, however, that the Council will secure a firm commitment from NASA to come to Cambridge, before taking any irrevocable steps. "We don't want to be left with a big lot of land, and NASA located in Watertown," he said.
One of the requirements for federal approval of urban renewal projects is that at least half the buildings in the area to be cleared be "industrially blighted." Crane said that the officials Frank talked to indicated the City Council would have no trouble proving that of the Kendall Square site