City Council Subcommittee To Offer Lotus Tax Breaks

Hopes to Persuade Company to Stay

In an effort to induce one of cambridge's largest business to remain in town, a City Council subcommittee this week paved the way for possible tax zoning breaks for the Lotus Development Corp.

The software giant has threatened to move its headquarters from its current Kendall Square site to North Reading, Mass. The Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (CRA) has offered to alter zoning requirements and ease the tax burden for Lotus to make Cambridge a more hospitable host.

The council's subcommittee on ordinances approved several CRA proposals Wednesday night, said CRA Executive Director Joseph F. Tulimieri.

One allows landscaped space above a parking lot to count as public open space. another re-exempts the area from a sign ordinance, Tulimieri said. The exemption had been removed last June when the city under went a major revision of its sign laws, he said.

A third provision, which would allow Lotus to be taxed a lower rate by extending a old urban renewal plan by 15 extra years, will come before the City Council and the planning Board on August 3.


The Provision would allow for direct tax agreement between Cambridge and Lotus, Tulimieri said. The city of Boston used similar lower tax incentives when it enticed Genzyme, once a major Cambridge business presence, to move to Allston.

A cut in tax revenues may be worthwhile to retain big businesses, Tulimieri said. "Municipalities will allow less than what they would normally expect to receive in tax revenues from the developer," he said.

All of technical proposals were designed with lotus in mind, Tulimieri said. "All of them are essential prereq-

uisites for Lotus to make a decision to remainin town," he said.

Lotus currently occupies some 600,000 squarefeet a 1.5 million square foot Kendall Squaredevelopment area, owning one building and rentingspace from many others Tulimieri said. And Lotus"impeccable reputation as a good corporatecitizen" makes the company all the more desirablehe said.

"For a developer of that suzette announce thatit was leaving town would create an incredibleproblem for the real estate industry directly, andfor the city of Cambridge indirectly in terms oflost tax revenues," Tulimieri said.

Tulimieri said Lotus has not promised to stayin return for certain concessions. Instead, hesaid, the company has expressed interest instaying, but has in essence told the city that"you really have to demonstrate that you want usto stay here."

Tulimieri said this weeks actions "indicateCambridge's real concern and real need to keepthem into town."

The city council will decide on the taxapplication by mid-September, Tulimieri said. Ifit then gains approval on the state level, Lotusmay be able to make a decision by mid October, hesaid