Council Orders Assessment Of Parking Lot Under Motel

Last night the Council asked the City Manager to have an independent appraiser report on the value of its right to run a municipal parking lot at ground level under the Harvard Motor Inn.

Harvard plans to tear down the hotel and construct an office building on the site, but the University cannot do so until the city gives up its right to the parking lot land underneath. The City Council--especially Councillor Francis H. Duehay '55--wants to know exactly what that right is worth.

Cambridge was to have let Harvard tear down the building in return for the University's promise to build a new, indoor parking garage that would have brought the city more revenue than the old spaces did. But Duehay, who opposes tearing down the motel at all, stalled the deal. He said last week that Cambridge should not give up a property right to Harvard without knowing what it was worth.

On the other hand, Councillor William H. Walsh argued that the property right was not worth anything to anyone besides the city, since a municipal parking garage is the only purpose Cambridge has a right to use the land for.

The Council also voted last night to have the City Solicitor look into the legal status of the land.