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MassDevelopment

Underutilized Properties Program

The 2021 Economic Development Bill authorizes $40M for the Underutilized Properties Program, to be administered by MassDevelopment, for the purpose of funding “projects that will improve, rehabilitate or redevelop blighted, abandoned, vacant or underutilized properties to achieve the public purposes of eliminating blight, increasing housing production, supporting economic development projects, increasing the number of commercial buildings accessible to persons with disabilities.” For the first year of the program, the focus will be on funding capital improvements and code compliance projects, along with the design of these improvements.

This program is part of the Community One Stop for Growth, a single application portal and collaborative review process for community and economic development grant programs that make targeted investments based on a Development Continuum. This process will streamline the experience for the applicant and better coordinate programs and staff on engagement and grant making. It will also reorient the State from a passive reviewer of funding requests to an active partner in economic development strategy, priorities, and investment. Access to this program is now exclusively available through the One Stop. Learn more about the One Stop.

The Baker-Polito administration is pleased to announce that the $8 million FY22 Underutilized Properties Program application round (subject to the state capital plan) will open for Expressions of Interest from February 8 to April 2, 2021. Full applications will be accepted from May 3 to June 4, 2021 with awards anticipated in October or November 2021. See the application timeline below.

Timeline

  • One Stop Official Launch: January 21, 2021
  • Webinar 1: One Stop Overview Webinar: January 28, 2021, 12PM
  • Webinar 2: One Stop Application Guidance Webinar: February 2, 2021, 12PM
  • Webinar 3: Technology Webinar: February 4, 2021, 12PM
  • Expressions of Interest Accepting Applications: February 8 – April 2, 2021
  • Full Application Accepting Applications: May 3, 2021 – June 4, 2021
  • Review & Evaluation: June-September 2021
  • Notification of Award: October/November 2021
  • Anticipated Contracting: November/December 2021

Eligible Applicants and Uses

Through the Community One Stop, municipalities, municipal agencies or authorities, economic development and industrial corporations, economic development authorities, nonprofit entities, and for-profit entities can apply for Underutilized Properties Program funding. All applications must include a letter of support from the municipality clearly articulating the proposed funding’s public purpose/ benefit. For-profit entities will need to make clear the public purposes advanced by their proposed funding request.

Eligible Uses of Program Funds fall into two categories, Buildings and Predevelopment. Each category is further defined below. See the program guidelines for more information.

Buildings
Grant funds may be used for capital improvements that are essential to the occupancy or increased occupancy of existing structures. Such improvements may address building stabilization, roof repair, HVAC system improvements (provided that they are fully integrated elements of a building structure or site), tenant improvements and fit-out expenses, and other similar purposes. Funds may also be used to facilitate compliance with building code(s), fire/life safety system regulations, accessibility requirements, seismic code, and other similar regulations.

Predevelopment
Grant funds may be used to engage the services of architects, engineers, landscape architects, and other related professionals to assess building conditions and to develop design and construction documents for capital improvement and code compliance projects described in the Buildings section.

Review Criteria

MassDevelopment will consider the following criteria when reviewing Underutilized Properties Program applications. While few sites will satisfy every criterion, applications will be reviewed on a relative basis. Review criteria will be used to assess the likelihood of requested funding to advance a project towards increased occupancy and resulting public benefits. See the program guidelines for more detail.

  • Eligibility
  • Public Purpose
  • Capacity and Readiness
  • Project Benefits
  • Financial Need
  • Diversity

MassDevelopment staff will determine if all statutory and program guidelines are met. A review committee will independently review and score the applications. Note that reviewers may request additional information from any or all relevant sources during the application review process.

Grant Terms and Conditions

Grantees will be required to execute a standard grant agreement. For municipalities or other public entities, community development corporations and nonprofit entities, funding will take the form of a grant. Funds will be disbursed on an invoice basis.

In the case of for-profit entities, assistance will take the form of a recoverable grant. Grant funds will be recoverable in the event that the property, or any portion thereof, is sold or otherwise conveyed within five years of the execution of the grant agreement.

For additional details, see the Program Guidelines. Please watch this site for additional details as they become available.

Underutilized Properties Program Guidelines

Apply for Underutilized Properties Program

 

For more information on the Underutilized Properties Program, contact:

Ed Starzec
Director of Land Planning & Permitting
Direct: 857-204-0594
Email: estarzec@massdevelopment.com

Jennifer Cohen
Vice President of Real Estate Development
Cell: 857-248-0854
Email: jcohen@massdevelopment.com


For more information on the One Stop Application, contact:

Please submit questions in writing to OneStop@mass.gov using the subject: “One Stop for Growth Question.” The One Stop partners will review and aggregate responses and post them regularly on the One Stop website: mass.gov/onestop.