Boston Mayor Michelle Wu speaks to reporters outside City Hall on Nov. 17, 2021. Photo by John Wilcox | Boston Mayor's Office

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced plans to increase requirements for affordable housing in new developments from 13 to 20 percent of units, raise linkage fees on major real estate projects, and seek Beacon Hill’s approval for a transfer fee on real estate transactions above $2 million.

At a city hall press conference Tuesday, administration officials outlined a series of steps to control housing costs in Boston.

Sheila Dillon, Boston’s chief of housing, said the linkage payment updates could have a new category for life science projects which comprise a major portion of the commercial development pipeline “and whether lab developments have unique conditions that allow them to pay more.”

Wu said she is weighing an executive order that includes smaller developments in the inclusionary development policy, which currently applies to projects with 10 or more units.

“There are so many nine-unit proposals because developers realize there’s a strict cutoff there,” Wu said. “As we look for infill development in our neighborhoods and the opportunity to link resources that are badly needed with the growth and development of our communities, that is one option we are analyzing very closely.”

The linkage fee on new developments – which supports affordable housing and job training programs – was most recently increased in early 2021 by 43 percent, from $10.81 to $15.39 per square foot. It applies to developments over 100,000 square feet.

Wu’s administration also is auditing all city-owned properties over the next three months to find opportunities to generate housing, mentioning the need for supportive housing to address the Mass & Cass public health and homeless crisis.

“The announcement the mayor is making today is precisely the kind of moves that we need to solve the problem,” said Vanessa Calderon-Rosado, CEO of South End-based nonprofit housing agency Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion.

Wu Set to Increase Affordable Housing Requirements, Linkage Fees

by Steve Adams time to read: 1 min