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MGH Proposes Group Venture

By Terri E. Gerstein

The Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) last month proposed to merge its land near North Station with property owned by the city of Boston and private firms in a joint venture to establish a new sports arena, according to MGH officials.

The MGH proposal would almost double the amount of land to be used in the new sports development which will be planned by the city. So far the city has also received proposals of land from Delaware North Corporation and Gorin Associates.

The city has not yet officially responded to MGH's proposal.

The hospital proposed the joint venture hoping to alleviate the present need for parking near the hospital and to attain increased income from the currently unused land, said Lawrence E. Martin, MGH's associate general director.

It is unclear how much money the venture would make.

In Developing Phase

"We will do everything we can to protect and improve parking near MGH," he said. "We also wanted to see if we could develop an income stream to help fill the cracks left by the federal government."

Martin said that there is no present need to use the land to house patients, because of new land developments in the Charlestown Navy Yard and the building of a new inpatient tower.

"We're not in the developing business. All we have is land. Someone else will do the developing and decide what actually goes there," Martin said.

"We showed what we thought could be done, but they have not responded to us yet," Martin said. "If nothing else happens, we'll try to build a garage there."

John P. Connolly, development advisor to the mayor, said that the MGH proposal would add too much land to the arena project. "That level of development in that site would not be feasible," he said.

"MGH is coming forth with a plan to maximize its profits. We have a plan to build a sports facility. Those two things may or may not be compatible. There may be conflicting interests on both sides," Connolly said.

"That's not to say that there isn't a role for MGH. I have suggested that that would be a good site for a major parking facility," he said.

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