What Happens to the Harvard Charitable Funds if the Watertown Arsenal is Sold?

Readers want to know what happens to the funds that go to local charities and groups if and when the Arsenal on the Charles is sold by Harvard.


When Harvard purchased the Arsenal on the Charles complex in 2002, the university agreed to a number of payments to the town of Watertown as part of the 50 year agreement, including a $100,000 payment annually for local charities and organizations.

The agreement, known as a payment in lieu of taxes (or PILOT), was put in place because as an educational institution Harvard does not have to pay regular property taxes. 

Now the Arsenal on the Charles is under agreement to be sold from Harvard to Athenahealth - one of the current tennants of the complex. Watertown Patch readers wondered, what will happen to the charitable monies if and when the complex is sold? 

Looks like Watertown will lose the charitable funds, which go to what is known as the Watertown/Harvard Community Enrichment Fund (formerly the Harvard/O'Neill Charitable Fund). 

Town officials have not commented on the proposed deal, but have indicated that the payments from Harvard would end because the university would no longer own the property.

This year, Harvard made it's 10th payment, bringing the total donations $1 million to the charitable fund. Here are the recipients.

Do you have a question you would like Patch to answer? Send them to Editor Charlie Breitrose at charlie.breitrose@patch.com.

Rob_Mc January 04, 2013 at 07:20 PM
Watertown isn't "losing" anything. Harvard was not required to pay taxes and was donating money with zero obligation on their behalf. Won't the town now just get the taxes instead?
Gary M January 04, 2013 at 08:31 PM
Watertown was already getting taxes from the 'for profit' businesses in there (and will continue to do so). However, Harvard was paying us $3million+ per year as well as the $100k donation. That money, which was always included in the revenue, is now gone.
Rob_Mc January 04, 2013 at 09:21 PM
But what are the taxes on a 168 million dollar property?


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