Outlines opportunities to leverage state land for economic development, affordable housing
BOSTON – October 20, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Governor Charlie Baker today outlined the administration’s Real Estate Asset Leveraging (REAL) Strategy for developing unused or underutilized Commonwealth properties into new opportunities for affordable or market-rate housing, reducing government expenses, increasing revenue without taxes, capital investment in state properties, economic development, or open recreational space. Across our state agencies and authorities, the Commonwealth highlighted 42 near-term opportunities for public-private partnerships at an open house for interested parties.
“As the Commonwealth’s largest property owners, state government has an opportunity to leverage underutilized real estate to build housing and conserve open space, while driving economic growth and stronger communities across Massachusetts,” said Governor Baker. “We are excited to invite the private sector and community partners to participate in this process and look forward to unleashing their creativity and innovation to better use public land for the good of the Commonwealth.”
Among the REAL Strategy steps announced by the Governor today were:
- An inter-governmental REAL working group, spearheaded by the Executive Office for Administration and Finance, to meet regularly to evaluate proposals, develop ideas and ensure efficiency and timeliness.
- One stop shops at key landholding agencies to better manage Commonwealth real estate assets.
- Engagement of a private consultant to assist the Commonwealth in developing the next wave of parcels and partnerships in order to build a pipeline of projects.
- Reactivation of the sparingly used Asset Management Board as a flexible tool to work with the private sector on long-term leases.
- More effectively managing thousands of leases on state land in a more professional and progressive manner.
Over 40 initial properties were identified today for the solicitation of proposals, including:
- Opportunities in Boston to invest in high value properties for retail and housing.
- Parcels in Northampton ready for redevelopment.
- Major development parcels near highways in Plymouth, Carver and Taunton.
- Potential partnerships with the MBTA and MassDOT for fuel sales, ATMs and new service plazas.
- Green investment projects for anaerobic digestion and new solar installations.
- A renewed collaboration with our Sale Partnership Communities, who are redeveloping closed state hospitals in partnership with the Commonwealth.
- Opportunities to upgrade statewide telecom infrastructure.
- Online database featuring all available properties in one page that includes each project name, acreage, how long they have been available and anticipated release.
The REAL Strategy was announced at an Open for Business event hosted by the Baker-Polito Administration and attended by representatives of businesses and key state agencies, including the Executive Office for Administration and Finance, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA), the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), MassDevelopment and DCAMM. Of the Commonwealth’s over 20,000 properties, approximately 15,000 are held by DCAMM, 4,000 by the MBTA and 1,700 by MassDOT.