I haven’t touched much on the controversy regarding a mosque being built by the Islamic Society of Boston for several reasons. A lot of folks have looked into the details of the deal, and reported them — and ended up getting sued by the ISB. At least one Boston newspaper and one Boston TV station are facing lawsuits right now over the matter. The stories from this Google search give some pretty good details — especially those from Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch.
But this story from this morning’s Boston Herald brought up one element of the story that has me a bit worried.
People tend to worry about the value of their homes. “Bringing down property values” is the rallying cry of zoning laws and the like, when folks use the legal system to force their neighbors to be good neighbors, keep up their property, and so on.
The land the ISB wants to build their mosque on was bought from the city of Boston in a deal that, by any standard, was a great one. Initially, it was assessed at $2,000,000. (Boston real estate prices are very high, even when it is taken into account that it’s in BOSTON, which is in (shudder) MASSACHUSETTS.) Then, when the deal was being finalized four months later, the selling agency pegged the value at a smidgen over $400,000. The final sales price was $175,000, plus a “public benefits package” to be provided to the community by the ISB.
Complicating things is an appraisal by the United Bank of Kuwait, which is handling the financing of the mosque. They officially listed the lot’s value at $480,000.
The lesson here seems to be that if someone wants to build a mosque in your neighborhood, you can expect the value of your property to take a huge hit. Here, the value of one lot dropped by about 80% in four months after it was announced that it would be used to build a mosque. Then, to add insult to injury, the final selling price was less than half that.