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MIT Will End Lease Of Worthington Units

By Naveen Sunkavally

news editor

MIT will terminate its seven-year lease of its 91 apartment units at Worthington Place this summer, according to Director of Real Estate Peter A. Lewis.

MIT will be “giving those units back to management, as soon as the agreement is actually signed” with the owner of Worthington Place, Lewis said. “Everything is still subject to final approval [but] we have reason to expect nothing will change.”

The lease will terminate over the summer between June 30 and August 31.

MIT paying rent for empty units

MIT is currently paying rent for approximately 40 unoccupied units at Worthington Place, each costing $2,110 per month, according to resident Julie L. Eisenhard G. The termination of the lease was a way to put a stop to paying for unused housing.

MIT had leased units at Worthington Place in 1998 in order to provide housing for graduate students who were displaced from Tang Hall by incoming undergraduates.

Of the 91 units, 36 were reserved for those displaced from Tang, an additional 30 could be rented out by other graduate students, and the remaining 25 were meant for lease to MIT affiliates.

For the first year, MIT provided graduate students a subsidy to keep the cost at $1,450 per month; however the subsidy ended after the first year, and the price of a two-bedroom Worthington unit jumped to $2110 per month.

Following the increase, a large fraction of the graduate students at Worthington moved out. MIT has tried to rent out the remaining 40 apartments vacated there, but it has been unsuccessful.

Residents not informed yet

Eisenhard said that none of the residents of Worthington has been informed of the termination of the lease yet. “We’ve heard rumors from MIT,” she said. “As far as I know, I’m staying there until August.”

However, in March, Worthington Place did present MIT tenants with an addendum to their lease that stipulated that MIT would pay their last month’s rent. Worthington Place was not aware of the addendum at the time of signing the contract in 1998, but was reminded of it through MIT, Eisenhard said.

GSC not consulted

Graduate Student Council President Luis A. Ortiz G said he was not aware that MIT was working to terminate the lease with the owner of Worthington Place. While it is good that MIT will no longer be paying rent for empty apartments, it is “unfortunate MIT didn’t subsidize grad students to stay in the rooms if they were to remain empty,” Ortiz said.

If the agreement to terminate the lease is signed, graduate students living in Worthington will have to enter the housing market after August. MIT is currently making plans to renovate the NW30 building at 224 Albany Street by the fall of 2001 to accommodate 125 graduate students.

However, “the ultimate goal is the dorm on Sidney and Pacific Street, which we have been pushing for for years,” Ortiz said. Plans to build that dorm, which could potentially house 500-700 students, have been set back to 2003.