Transformative Development Initiative [TDI]

MassDevelopment's Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) is a redevelopment program for Gateway Cities designed to enhance local public-private engagement and community identity; stimulate an improved quality of life for local residents; and spur increased investment and economic activity. TDI is an integrated systems approach to investment and urban redevelopment on a scale that can amplify and accelerate revitalization. Along with the new tools in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Transformative Development Fund, we will utilize additional existing finance products, and coordinate with private- and public-sector partners, to encourage development activity by private landowners, enterprises, and investors. The Transformative Development Fund was created within MassDevelopment pursuant to C. 287, Acts of 2014, in August 2014.

Building on MassDevelopment’s legacy of investments within Gateway Cities and expertise in quality long-term revitalization, TDI focuses on linking and leveraging these investments by supporting additional investment and assistance in strategic districts to create momentum. The initiative is rooted in three principles:

  • Local collaborative partnerships: Development success comes from strong partnerships and people, which work together to establish a vision, link resources to ideas, and collaboratively move projects forward over sustained periods.
  • Strategic district focus: Efforts are focused on locally identified, strategically located TDI Districts.
  • Community engagement: TDI seeks to support capacity and provide funding tools that will reinforce and support local community engagement. By building on local assets and activities to support communities, MassDevelopment can stimulate internal and external investments that allow communities to engage with and enjoy the benefits of those investments.

The program is organized around three distinct programs authorized by the legislation:

  • a “Technical Assistance Program,” TDI Assistance, through which MassDevelopment will provide scope-tailored third-party professional services managed by the MassDevelopment, community building placemaking projects called TDI Places, and a “Fellows Program,” TDI Fellows, through which professional staff will be working for the TDI District local collaborative partnership;
  • an “Equity Investment Program,” TDI Investment, through which MassDevelopment will make equity investments in real estate within TDI Districts; and
  • a "Business Growth Tools" program, primarily through TDI Cowork which supports the emergence and expansion of collaborative workspaces to support innovative activities and catalyze business development.


“Transformative Development,” pursuant to the enabling act for the Transformative Development Fund, means redevelopment on a scale and character capable of catalyzing significant follow-on private investment, leading over time to transformation of an entire downtown or urban neighborhood in a way consistent with local plans.

“TDI Partnership” is the public-private partnership that will serve as the lead agent in identifying the district and working with MassDevelopment on the stewardship of the district vision. This is a community partnership with representation from at least three sectors – the City, private investors (e.g., local businesses, business organizations, financial institutions, major employers), and nonprofit investors (e.g., community development corporations, social service agencies, universities, and including stakeholders addressing local lower income workforce challenges).

Please refer to official program guidelines here.

For more information, contact: or your regional office

TDI District

A TDI District is a geographic area that is a contiguous neighborhood, characterized by a primary land use (e.g. downtown main street, residential, light industrial) but defined by a walkable, dense, mixed-use physical environment (five-minute walking radius) framed by recent public or private investments. The TDI District includes "hinge" areas identified by the TDI Partnerships (e.g. blocks, intersections, gateways) that have had flat activity or blight, and/or sites and buildings that are underutilized despite proximate investments. The goal of the program is to concentrate resources, efforts, and investments in a ompact area in order to create a critical mass of activity, build momentum, and inspire additional investments by neighboring landowners, local entrepreneurs, and businesses that will lead to additional private development.


"TDI Districts in Development" are the 10 TDI Districts selected by MassDevelopment’s short-listing process during an open competition for all Gateway Cities in October-December 2014. Called the Call for TDI Districts, this process provided MassDevelopment with a 'Needs Assessment' for all 26 Gateway Cities. This information was used by the TDI Team to develop specific and tailored scopes of work for the 10 Districts in Development, as well as technical assistance workshops.

The 10 Districts in Development are receiving:

  • Enhanced MassDevelopment support
  • Customized technical assistance to complement prior planning/assistance work and catalyze further redevelopment
  • First priority for potential TDI Equity Investments
  • Three of these districts have received TDI Fellows

MassDevelopment will continue to support redevelopment activities in other areas of Gateway Cities through its other programs and will continue to support redevelopment activities throughout the Commonwealth.

The 2014 Call for Districts form can be found here.

For more information, contact:

2015 TDI Districts in Development

Click here to view TDI Districts in Development.

TDI Investment

TDI Investment is defined, pursuant to the Transformative Development Fund enabling act, as an equity investment that results in MassDevelopment holding a controlling ownership interest in any company; a membership interest that constitutes controlling voting rights in any company; a controlling interest in real estate or other assets; a transaction that in substance falls into any of these categories even though it may be structured as some other form of business transaction; and an equity security.

MassDevelopment will use TDI to make Equity Investments in properties that have the potential to spur Transformative Development in and/or around a TDI District. Potential investments must meet the initial screening criteria identified below:

Screening Investment Projects

  • Meeting the legislated definition of Equity Investment (above)
  • Significant economic development impact on the city
  • Consistency with Commonwealth and strategic MassDevelopment priorities
  • Built environment/district impact (visibility)
  • Community engagement in success of project/TDI District
  • Feasibility of use plan (market demand)
  • Feasibility of development (cost and capital availability/size of fund)
  • Otherwise significant hurdle to finance without TDI investment
  • Ability to execute project soon to catalyze development in the TDI District

An updated set of guidelines on TDI Investments can be found here.

For more information, contact:

TDI Fellows

The TDI Fellows Program is enhancing economic development capacity at the local level by bringing new professional resources into a community to effect catalytic changes and propel development. The Fellows work full-time in their host communities, serve as extensions of MassDevelopment’s regional teams, and are active parts of a collaborative cohort of Fellows identified through the program.

The Fellows are lead community organizers of economic development strategy in the TDI District on behalf of the host community. Building on existing community-approved plans for redevelopment, and in parallel with or following an economic development strategic plan for the district, the Fellow will aid the TDI Partnership in providing additional expertise and leadership on a broad range of activities that will grow the economic base of the city, create jobs, and transform communities. Each Fellow’s specific work plan will be outlined in a memorandum of agreement between the TDI Partnership and MassDevelopment.

The TDI Fellows Program is a three-year commitment. In 2015, the pilot year for the program, three TDI Fellows were designated to work in Haverhill, Lynn, and Springfield. In December 2015, Brockton, New Bedford, and Pittsfield were selected to receive TDI Fellows in the program's second year.

For more information, contact:

TDI Places

As a part of the technical assistance program, MassDevelopment will undertake a TDI Places Placemaking Grant process. All Gateway Cities can apply for a Placemaking Grant that will enhance activities in the TDI District and help support further community engagement and activity. These will be $1,000-$10,000 grants supporting particular small-scale projects proposed for and taking place in visible public areas of the TDI District that provide community engagement and help build community identity while supporting public realm improvement. Examples of Placemaking projects include but are not limited to pocket parks, pop-up stores, community gardens, and farmers markets.

Examples of Placemaking can be found here:

See the 2016 TDI Placemaking Report

For more information, contact:

TDI Assistance

This pool of new technical assistance resources will include funding for supportive activities to enhance redevelopment focus in a TDI District in Development. TDI Assistance may include focused economic development strategy support, industry analysis, marketing/communications to strategic markets, and community building activities that may occur in and around district development activities. Additional existing MassDevelopment Real Estate Technical Assistance and predevelopment services and lending tools, customized to the particular conditions of the district and district’s economic development strategy, will complement the new tools for working with all Districts in Development.

For more information, contact:

TDI Cowork

The TDI Cowork Program was created to support Gateway Cities in the Commonwealth as part of the Transformative Development Fund within MassDevelopment. The program provides funds to foster accelerated clustering of innovation and creative economy participants to spur business growth and economic activity in Gateway Cities.

Click here to learn more about collaborative workspaces. Read about some of the previous awards here.

Apply for the Collaborative Workspace Program

For more information, contact: