Boston Mayor Michelle Wu is following up on her campaign promise to require 20 percent affordable housing in new developments, appointing 11 members of an advisory committee and hiring consultants to study the topic along with potential increases in commercial development linkage fees.

Oakland, California-based David Paul Rosen & Associates will conduct the study with input from an assortment of local real estate executives in both the nonprofit, academic and private sectors.

Wu’s office announced the following members of the IDP technical advisory committee:

  • Donna Brown, Executive Director, South Boston Neighborhood Development Corp.
  • Jesse Kanson-Benanav, Executive Director, Abundant Housing Massachusetts
  • George Lee, Coalition for a Truly Affordable Boston/Keep it 100 for Real Affordable Housing & Racial Justice
  • Abe Menzin, Principal and Executive Vice President of Development, Samuels & Associates
  • Greg Minott, Managing Principal, the D/R/E/A/M Collaborative
  • Markeisha Moore, Coalition for a Truly Affordable Boston/Dot Not For Sale
  • Leslie Reid, CEO of Madison Park Development Corp.
  • Erica Schwarz, Board Member, Boston Neighborhood Community Land Trust
  • Tamara Small, CEO of NAIOP Massachusetts
  • Peter Spellios, Principal, Transom Real Estate
  • Justin Steil, Associate Professor of Law and Urban Planning, MIT

Boston’s 22-year-old inclusionary development policy requires at least 13 percent income-restricted units in new multifamily projects, although many recently approved projects such as Iron Works in South Boston have voluntarily exceeded the minimums.

Wu also has discussed applying the inclusionary policy to projects with fewer than 10 units, which are currently exempt.

Since its creation in 2000, the IDP has been responsible for creating 3,600 units in new developments. Developers also have the option of paying a fee to support affordable housing in the surrounding neighborhood, a policy that has preserved and created approximately 2,500 income-restricted units.

Along with a potential increase in minimum affordable units, the committee will study household income requirements for residents of the restricted units and possible increases in the off-site fee.

The new administration also has named a pair of consultants to study proposed increases in the linkage fees that commercial developers pay to support affordable housing and job training programs. City officials approved a 43 percent hike to $15.39 per square foot, which was proposed by former Mayor Marty Walsh in 2021. 

Karl Seidman Consulting Services and ConsultEcon Inc. will study the potential linkage fee increases, with a focus on life science projects that have driven much of the city’s large-scale development in recent years.

The groups are expected to make recommendations to the mayor in September.

Wu Names Advisors on IDP, Linkage Fee Increases

by Steve Adams time to read: 2 min