The capital campaign is over. Long live the capital campaign

Washington Post: U-Va. Sets $3 Billion Campaign for Gifts. Having breathed a sigh of relief when the last capital campaign (which began right after I graduated) finished in 2001, it’s interesting to see the approach being taken on this one. The $3 billion goal looks to be aimed at finishing projects left unfunded by the last campaign, including the performing arts center, as well as starting new buildings, special institutes, hospital facilities, and raising professors’ salaries. A goal stated more quietly is reduced dependence on the state for funds; this is the state, after all, that tried to starve the University in the early 1990s.

While it’s good to see Casteen living up to his reputation as überfundraiser, one wonders about the effects of perpetual capital campaigns on the University’s alumni. Is severing the school’s connection to the state legislature worth the relationship risk? On second thought, maybe it is.

The Big Dig and property values

post-central artery pre-greenway boston north end

Boston Globe: Path to the Greenway: For property owners, parks mean profits. Unsurprisingly, the Boston real estate market is already pricing in the raise in property values that the creation of the Greenway along the former site of the elevated Central Artery will bring. The same rise can also be seen on the other side of the coast where listings show an increase in prices as well and according to the Northpoint Mortgage Company the rise is bound to raise in the next few years.

This doesn’t surprise me at all. When I was in grad school, we briefly flirted with the idea of buying property in the North End. A visit to a 900 square foot brick loft with a view of the Artery (now the Greenway), which was selling for $399,000, dissuaded us. Even then I think the market was pricing in the anticipated increased value of the land once the Artery came down.

So the real questions are: How long will the small business and home owners in the North End be able to afford the rise in property taxes that the increased valuations will bring? And by how much will property values ultimately rise? Any chance of netting back the full $14.6 billion cost of the Big Dig? Somehow I doubt it…