The Oliver T. Carr Company "saves" the Gallery Place Building Project {front page, July 28}? Saves it from what? Saves it from housing low-income people as original bid guidelines required? Saves it from minorities, whose ownership share is being slashed to 27 percent? Or saves it from having to have small and minority-owned businesses on the site?

Perhaps The Post meant by its terminology that the Carr Co. was bailing out the project as a philanthropic gesture and that the Carr Co. stood to lose money or just break even. I would find that doubtful, given that the Carr Co. will pay only $17 million over a period of years for a site that is currently worth at least $57 million (its current tax year assessment) and is appreciating rapidly. Of course, part of the city's original justification for such a low price was that low-income housing was to be included in the development. However, Mr. Carr and the other well-connected developers of the project seem to have convinced the city that they haven't, contrary to basic sense, received any price break on the land and just can't afford to build any housing there, much less low- or moderate-income housing.

According to Redevelopment Land Agency guidelines, developers are supposed to meet with community groups from the beginning in planning what is to be done with city-owned property. The developers in this project have not, however, involved the neighborhood at all. Moreover, the city seems committed to preventing effective community participation by continuing to withhold substantial plans and documents pertaining to the proposed project even though such documents have been repeatedly requested by community groups under the D.C. Freedom of Information Act. What is the city trying to hide?

Of course, while the Carr Co. gets this publicly owned land for at least $40 million less than what it is worth, homeless children get to stand at night in the parking lot outside the Pitts Shelter, or maybe if they're lucky they can sleep on cots in a high school gym. We can rest assured that they certainly won't be sleeping in low-income housing at Gallery Place, if the city and the developers have their way.

I guess this is what The Post means when it says the Carr Co. has come to the "rescue" of Gallery Place and the area around it.


Executive Director

The Downtown Cluster of Congregations