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Sep. 14, 2013

Mayor Menino’s $16.5 Billion Housing Strategy Calls for 30,000 New Units by 2020

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Back in March Mayor Thomas M. Menino unveiled an unprecedented plan to increase the number of new housing units in Boston by 30,000 by the year 2020. Last week, with less than four months in office, the Mayor announced the city’s new blueprint for this ambitious strategy that aims to fulfill Boston’s housing needs.

The 48-page report called “Housing Boston 2020” outlines the plan’s priorities, including the use of subsidies to support and promote more affordable housing, building taller residential structures with smaller units and selling city-owned properties and land to developers at reduced prices.

“Boston 2013 is thriving, and well positioned to meet its bright future,” Mayor Menino said. “But one thing has not changed: in order to fulfill its promise, we must stay focused on creating housing, because this is an issue that affects every Boston resident.

Designed as a $16 billion public and private strategy, the mayor’s plan calls for 30,000 new housing units completed by 2020. Twenty-five thousand of these will be private market rate units requiring $10 billion in new investment, while an additional $1.5 billion dollar housing initiative will add 5,000 new units for the middle class.

The plan also outlines the creation of 5,000 new affordable, deed-restricted housing units requiring $2 billion in state and private financing. Another $1.5 billion will finance new graduate student housing for around 10,000 full-time students.

By the end of 2013 the Menino administration plans to:

-           approve building permits for 3,600 market rate units;

-          identify the key-cost drivers for housing developments in Boston and single out those costs that can be influenced by city authorities;

-          find more efficient ways to manage the need for off-street parking;

-          implement BRA’s new smaller unit size standard and encourage the production of micro-apartments;

-       start working with design experts to identify Boston’s growth demographics needs and find new housing approaches and best practices from around the world.

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