Transformative Development Initiative [TDI]

MassDevelopment's Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) is a place-based development 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. Along with new tools in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Transformative Development Fund, we use existing Agency finance products and real estate services, 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 Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 23G, Section 46, in August 2014. Twenty-six Gateway Cities were eligible for the program, and in 2014, 10 were selected for the three-year pilot program.

TDI’s goal is to concentrate efforts, resources and investments in a compact area to create a critical mass of activity that inspires investments by local residents, entrepreneurs, and businesses, and additional private development.

The initiative is rooted in three principles:

  • Strategic district focus: TDI focuses efforts on a strategically located contiguous neighborhood characterized by a primary land use (e.g. downtown main street, residential, light industrial) and a dense, mixed-use environment with a five-minute walking radius. The districts are locally selected and framed by recent public or private investments.
  • Local collaborative partnerships: Successful development is rooted in strong partnerships that work together to create a vision, link resources to ideas, and move projects forward over the long term. A “TDI Partnership” is the public-private agent that identifies a TDI district and works with MassDevelopment to execute its vision for the district.
  • Community engagement: TDI provides funding tools and supports local partners to reinforce local community engagement and further investment within a district.

The initiative is organized around these programs:

  • TDI Assistance, a technical assistance program through which MassDevelopment provides and manages tailored third-party professional services; community-building placemaking projects; and TDI Fellows, a fellows program through which a MassDevelopment employee is embedded in and works with a TDI District’s local partnership.
  • TDI Investment, an equity investment program through which MassDevelopment makes equity investments in real estate within TDI Districts.
  • TDI Cowork, a business growth tools program that will expand in 2016 and 2017 with new programs to support collaborative workspaces and innovative initiatives to catalyze business development.
  • TDI Local, a small grants program initiated to pilot grants to help support local market development.

Please refer to official program guidelines here.

For more information, contact: or your regional office

TDI Districts in Development

In May 2018, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the selection of 10 Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) districts in a second round of TDI awards, a highly competitive program for Gateway Cities designed to accelerate economic growth within focused areas. The second round includes four new districts in Chelsea, Fitchburg, Lawrence, and Worcester; and the extension of existing TDI districts in Brockton, Holyoke, Lynn, New Bedford, Pittsfield, and Springfield. 

Click here to view current TDI Districts in Development.

For more information, contact:

TDI Assistance

This pool of technical assistance resources will include funding for activities to enhance the redevelopment of a TDI District in Development. TDI Assistance may include support for focused economic development strategy planning, industry analysis, marketing and communication to strategic markets, and community building activities that may occur in and around district development activities. Past activities included TDI Places, a small-scale placemaking initiative (to learn more, read our TDI Placemaking Report).

For more information, contact:

TDI Fellows

The TDI Fellows Program, a cornerstone of the initiative, enhances a district’s economic development capacity by providing additional expertise and leadership. The Fellows work full-time in their host municipalities as lead community organizers for three years, and serve as an extension of MassDevelopment’s regional teams. Fellows have professional backgrounds in community and economic development, planning, law, architecture, workforce and business development. Each Fellow’s specific work plan is outlined in a memorandum of agreement between the TDI District and MassDevelopment.

In 2015, the pilot year for the program, MassDevelopment designated three TDI Fellows to work in Haverhill, Lynn, and Springfield. In December 2015, the Agency selected Brockton, New Bedford and Pittsfield to receive TDI Fellows in the program's second year. Holyoke became the latest community to receive a TDI Fellow in June 2017.

Announced in May 2018, MassDevelopment is extending its commitment and expanding the program to four new districts. In these new districts, four Fellows will serve as embedded MassDevelopment employees for two or three years to advance TDI in select strategic districts on behalf of local collaborative public-private partnerships.

For more information, contact:

TDI Investment

TDI Investment is 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 uses this TDI program to make equity investments in properties with potential to spur transformative development in and around a TDI District. Current TDI Investments include:

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

For more information, contact:

TDI Cowork

The TDI Cowork Program provides funds to accelerate the pace of new business formation, job creation and entrepreneurial activity in Massachusetts’ Gateway Cities by supporting infrastructure that funds community-based innovation.

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

LEARN MORE ABOUT the Collaborative Workspace Program

For more information, contact:

TDI Local

TDI Local is a small grants program initiated to pilot grants to help support local market development. These grants may range in focus from year to year, but can include placemaking, small business acceleration grants, and/or anchor employer engagement strategies. These small grants help support community engagement and help build community identity while supporting public-realm improvement.

For more information, contact: