Boston mayor announces residential conversion program for office buildings

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu has announced the launch of a new pilot program called the “Downtown Office to Residential Conversion Pilot Program.” This program aims to incentivize the conversion of underutilized office buildings into residential units in Downtown Boston. The program will be administered by the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA), Mayor’s Office of Housing (MOH), and the City of Boston Finance Cabinet. It will offer commercial building owners reduced property tax rates in exchange for converting their buildings to residential use. The program is part of Mayor Wu’s broader agenda to create more housing and promote affordability in Boston. It aligns with the city’s goals of increasing residential growth downtown and revitalizing the area. The program will be time-limited and will accept applications until June 2024. Applicants must comply with inclusionary zoning and energy efficiency standards, and are encouraged to maintain ground floor retail or public uses. Projects must start construction by October 2025 or pay any forgone taxes. The city will also require a 2% payment on future sales of the property to recoup forgone tax revenue. The program was developed in response to high commercial office space vacancy rates and the need for more housing in Downtown Boston. It is seen as the most financially feasible

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