Massachusetts, particularly the Boston metro area, is being impacted by a housing crisis. The population, and particularly the population of young adults, has decreased since 2020, partially due to the high cost of housing in eastern Massachusetts. Development of multi-family and affordable housing in the communities surrounding Boston has been challenged by rising construction costs, local zoning challenges, and a shortage of easily developed properties. These, plus other factors, have led to a lag in housing production.
Massachusetts is responding to housing affordability challenges by promoting the development or redevelopment of land parcels that have not historically been used for housing purposes. For example, Massachusetts created the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Communities Act in order to help increase the supply of multi-family and affordable transit-oriented housing. The law requires that 177 communities in Eastern Massachusetts create zoning districts to allow multi-family housing by right within a half mile of a public transit station; municipalities are often responding to this requirement by rezoning industrially-zoned parcels, many of which are potentially contaminated from past usage, into residentially-zoned parcels.
In addition to the transit-oriented development (TOD) enabled by the MBTA Communities Act, the Healey-Driscoll Administration recently unveiled the Affordable Homes Act. The Affordable Homes Act is a $4 billion-dollar plan intended to activate residential development across the Commonwealth. Of the $4 billion-dollar package, approximately $1.8 billion will be directed toward housing production and preservation through a variety of programs if the plan passes legislature.
Construction under these new initiatives is expected to transform former industrial properties and sites with known challenges such as environmental contamination, into attractive locations for affordable housing development. The onus will be on developers, municipalities, and other project proponents to identify financially viable development options, manage cleanups if necessary, and clearly communicate effective cleanups to the public.
What can Roux do to help? Roux’s real estate and public sector practices can assist both the public agencies seeking to comply with the law, and the private real estate developers looking to access the increased opportunity to develop housing across Massachusetts.
Roux can leverage our extensive real estate redevelopment expertise to help municipalities:
- Identify attractive redevelopment areas to maximize the potential for residential development.
- Quantify the potential costs associated with cleanups so those costs can be incorporated into plans.
- Manage the communication of environmental findings to the public.
- Help municipalities promote safe, sustainable housing development to address the housing crisis.
Roux can also assist private developers to:
- Evaluate opportunities for development.
- Access public funding sources to help off-set development costs.
- Perform cleanups expeditiously to bring investments online and help ensure State support for projects.
Interested in learning more? Fill out our form below to hear back from one of our experts and maximize your opportunities under Massachusetts housing initiatives.