Smart Growth Profiles from MACP

Our alliance partner, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, assembled profiles of 28 smart growth projects across the Metro Boston. These projects, which were completed over the past several decades, provide local examples for communities that may be interested in similar work.

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Arlington: The Legacy. On a vacated 3-acre site that might have housed a big box retail store, local leaders and the property owner worked together to create new retail space, apartments, and a more walkable town center.”,PDF

Cambridge: The Holmes Building. Contributing to the revitalization of Central Square after a period of decline, the Holmes Building opened in 2001 with new ground-floor retail, parking, and 72 apartments in a location with multiple transportation modes.”,PDF

Canton: Mixed-Use Overlay District. At the end of the 1990s, this suburban downtown was characterized by deteriorated buildings on small lots and hampered by zoning that prevented larger developments and omitted multifamily buildings. The town, eager to revitalize its center, now has five newer developments, including two restored historic structures, thanks to smarter zoning.”, PDF

Chelsea: 40R Overlay Zoning District. Nonprofit and private developers partnered with city leaders to create a 40R district at a vacant mill complex that has enabled the development of three housing projects, one of which is adapting an industrial building for housing, in addition to park space and potential connections to adjacent sites that may also be revitalized.”, PDF

Chelsea: Mixed-Use Development. Forbes Lofts is an ongoing project on nearly 18 acres of waterfront property that previously housed industrial uses and is federally designated as a brownfield. When completed, the development will include 350 loft units, public green space, and 20,000 square feet of commercial, restaurant, and office space.”, PDF

Concord: Mixed-Use and Housing Developments. Like many suburban towns, Concord saw development sprawl away from its train stations with the rise of automobile. Town leaders wanted to refocus development around their downtown and near the Concord Center and West Concord train stations. Two developments have yielded new housing, retail and office space, near transportation, parks, playgrounds, and natural areas.”, PDF

Danvers: Avalon. This very large parcel required a long-term effort as developers worked with city leaders and state legislators to create a range of housing options on the derelict site of the former Danvers State Hospital. The hospital once served as a state-of-the-art mental health facility before falling into decline and closing in 1992. It took many years, multiple developers, and strong civic leadership to bring this project to fruition.”, PDF

Dorchester: The Carruth. Hailed as a model for transit oriented development and neighborhood revitalization, this development created new apartments, condominiums, underground parking, and multiple retail spaces. By the 1990s, the Ashmont MBTA Station and Peabody Square had fallen into disrepair despite decades of community effort. In 2004, however, the pressure brought by community organizers helped push forward the revitalization of this and other Red Line stations in Dorchester.”, PDF

Foxboro: Chestnut Green. The property of the former Foxborough State Hospital, which closed in 1975, had become a decaying eyesore despite attempts at reuse and the qualities of its historic architecture and ample open space. The development, which is still underway, includes a village-style mix of stores, offices, and homes.”, PDF

Framingham: Dennison Redevelopment. Once home to global manufacturer of office supplies Avery Dennison Corp., this industrial complex sat vacant for years after the firm’s merger and relocation. Town leaders envisioned a mixed-use development of residential and office space on the site as a first step in the revitalization of Framingham’s downtown.”, PDF

Frankin: Center Commons. The 1990’s technology boom altered the outskirts of this suburban town with sprawling office parks and shopping centers that overtook natural areas and open space and drew economic vitality away from the town center. Civic leaders formed a partnership and fought to rejuvenate their downtown with mixed-use development.”, PDF

Gloucester: Pond View Village. This industrial site, once home to a glue factory that opened in 1876, offered river views, recreational green space, and proximity to downtown Gloucester and a commuter rail station. Starting in 2001 city officials worked with a nonprofit developer to create Cape Ann Housing Opportunity, which raised community money to purchase the site for development.”, PDF

Hingham Shipyard. Once one of the largest shipbuilding centers in the U.S., this site was left largely underutilized from the end of World War II until 2006 when development began. The Hingham Shipyard now offers more than 500 residential units in a pedestrian-friendly, waterfront community, with cinemas and easy access to a commuter ferry and trains.”, PDF

Manchester-by-the-Sea: Summer Street. Although one of the region’s most picturesque seaside towns, Manchester-by-the-Sea lacks a range of housing options and falls below the state mandated minimum for affordable housing units. This development, which replaced three dilapidated and structurally unsound buildings downtown, created mixed-use space and 39 new housing units.”, PDF

Maynard: Downtown Revitalization. City leaders wanted to encourage more visitors to Maynard and to create more downtown housing to support the area’s shops and restaurants and worked with a developer on three developments that have enlivened the downtown and include innovative uses like shared parking.”, PDF

Melrose: Oak Grove Village. Development of a large parcel in Melrose and on the border of Malden offered both cities potential amenities, housing, and increased tax bases, but nearby neighborhoods were concerned about the scale and scope of the development. With the community’s engagement and the use of smart growth principles, Oak Grove Village illustrates the benefits compact development close to transit.”, PDF

Millis: JOPA. Town leaders found themselves grappling with two seemingly conflicting priorities: maintaining Millis’ rural character while also ensuring a strong tax base and a healthy local economy. This compact mixed-use development was able to address both.”, PDF

Milton: Milton Landing. Milton is primarily a residential suburb just south of Boston. In the late 1990s, however, city leaders decided to diversify Milton’s tax base by revitalizing the downtown area and attracting more businesses and residents. Built by a local developer, Milton Landing includes 73 condominiums, new retail space, and a restaurant. New office space is also planned.”, PDF

Milton: Residences at Brook Hill. This development is notable part of the renaissance of Milton’s Central Avenue business district, which has included street renovations, improved walkability, and the development of moderately sized residential and commercial properties. Across the street from the Mattapan Trolley Line, the this mixed-use development includes 18 condominiums and three commercial spaces.”, PDF

Newton: Arborpoint Woodland Station. Providing and maintaining surface parking at its Woodland Station was not a financially sustainable situation for the MBTA. By leasing this parcel to a Newton developer, the transportation agency was able to address its financial needs and encourage more ridership with new transit-oriented housing.”, PDF

Norfolk: Norfolk Commons. Town leaders in Norfolk wrestled with growth on a large vacant parcel downtown—specifically, a developer’s plan to create a 40B residential development–while protecting their quaint New England town center.”, PDF

North Reading: Edgewood. Located in North Reading, this site of nearly 45 acres formerly housed a sanatorium, but the state-owned site had been abandoned and fenced off from public use. Reading officials seized the opportunity to redevelop this site after the 2005 passage of the state’s 40R Smart Growth Zoning act.”, PDF

Quincy: Munroe Place. Adjacent to the MBTA’s Quincy Center station on the Red Line and numerous bus routes, development of this site helped revitalize Quincy’s downtown area with new first-floor retail space, residences, and parking.”, PDF

Reading: Downtown District. The Town Meeting’s approval of the creation of a 40R Downtown Smart Growth district has encouraged redevelopment of Reading’s downtown with compact, mixed-use projects near a commuter rail station.”, PDF

Roxbury: Jackson Square Redevelopment. In a poor area needing both environmental and social justice, a public-private partnership is working to transform 11 acres of public and private land near the MBTA’s Jackson Square stop into a mixed-income and mixed-use development.”, PDF

Salem: Jail Redevelopment. Sitting vacant since the 1990s, city officials wanted to revitalize the site of the former Salem jail complex, which included the jail building, the jail keeper’s house, and a barn. This redevelopment and its success illustrate the city’s commitment to its historic past and the livability of its downtown area and economic health in the future.”, PDF

Salem: Jefferson Salem Station. After Hasbro relocated its offices from Salem in 1991, a large portion of the downtown district became available for redevelopment. The site, which had been home to the Salem Parker Brothers factory since opened in 1883, contained over 14 acres of industrial buildings on the Salem waterfront. The City took this opportunity to invest in boosting the quality of life and the economy of its downtown district.”, PDF

Waltham: Cronin’s Landing. By the 1980s, Waltham’s Moody Street, one of city’s main thoroughfares, had become rundown and pocketed with vacancies. Policy makers sought to rejuvenate the downtown, improve the streetscape, and build on Moody Street’s growing reputation as a dining destination. However, the Grover Cronin Department Store site, once the economic anchor of the business district, required a major investor whose vision for the site would coincide with city leaders’ hopes for a mixed-use development.”, PDF