Governor Patrick Announces First Housing Development Incentive Program District, Celebrated Affordable Housing Project

Press Release

By:  Deval Patrick
Date: Oct. 19, 2012
Location: Pittsfield, MA

Governor Deval Patrick today joined Mayor Daniel Bianchi and other officials to announce the first approved Housing Development Incentive Program (HDIP) district and planned project in the Commonwealth and to celebrate the completion of Rice Silk Mill, a 45-unit affordable housing project supported by the Patrick-Murray Administration.

"Investing in housing generates jobs, grows local businesses and strengthens our communities," said Governor Patrick. "Supporting reasonably priced housing for moderate and middle income families, along with our strategy of investing in education, innovation and infrastructure, will fuel economic development and rebuild our Gateway Cities."

"Gateway Cities serve as anchors for regional economic development," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "Through the Housing Development Incentive Program, our Administration will partner with Gateway Cities like Pittsfield to provide an effective tool to expand the diversity of housing stock, increase residential growth, and promote neighborhood stabilization, revitalizing our local and regional economies."

Pittsfield was the first Gateway City to submit a HDIP district and project application for approval. The approved Onota/Howard project will add 39 units of market rate housing and 10 retail spaces. The development will complement public investments the city has already made in the Downtown Arts Overlay District and a comprehensive streetscape program totaling $11 million that is in its final phase.

"The Rice Silk Mill and the Onota/Howard project are perfect examples of how state and local government can team up to work with private developers to improve our community," said Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier.

"These initiatives are an integral part of our economic development here in Pittsfield," said Mayor Bianchi. "They are preparing our city for growth and improving our housing. Governor Patrick and his Administration have been a great partner for the city of Pittsfield on so many issues, especially housing."

HDIP provides Gateway Cities with a development tool to increase residential growth, expand diversity of housing stock and support economic development. The program offers two incentives to developers who undertake substantial rehabilitation of properties and create multi-unit, market rate housing; a local option real estate tax exemption and a state tax credit for 10 percent of eligible costs, up to $1 million.

The Rice Silk Mill development was supported with more than $3.5 million from the Patrick-Murray Administration, including federal low-income housing tax credits, federal and state historic tax credits and affordable housing subsidies. The project also received funding from Community Development Action Grants (CDAG) and the MassDevelopment Brownfields Tax Credit.

The projects highlighted today are part of the Patrick-Murray Administration's "Housing that Works" initiative. Supporting quality housing is part of the ongoing effort to maintain and grow a strong economy. Developing housing that is dense, well-located and reasonably priced for moderate and middle incomes will help keep young families and individuals in Massachusetts.

Along with investments through the HDIP program, the Administration also offers support for new affordable and market rate housing through Chapter 40R funding which supports new housing that is planned, walkable, mixed-use and near jobs and transit; and Chapter 43D, which creates Priority Development Sites that established streamlined local permitting processes in approved areas.

On November 13, at the "Under One Roof" statewide housing and community development conference in Worcester, the Patrick-Murray Administration will announce additional tools to help support market rate and affordable housing creation in the Commonwealth.

Today's event highlights the Patrick-Murray Administration's commitment to investing in Gateway Cities like Pittsfield. The Administration has implemented the following strategy to make all of the state's 24 Gateway communities centers of economic activity:

Provide long-term investments in education, innovation and infrastructure, with special attention to the growth potential of each city's entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Leverage the potential of each community's distinctive assets, including their educational, medical and cultural institutions and their historic buildings and neighborhoods.
Connect Gateway Cities to other local, state and global centers of innovation and economic activity.
In keeping with this strategy, the Patrick-Murray Administration has made the following Gateway City investments:

$3,990,812,680 in Chapter 70 Education Funding in Fiscal Year 2012
Over $1 billion in active construction contracts through MassDOT
More than $20,860,373 in Gateway City Parks grants for park projects in 24 cities
More than $105 million since 2007 in public safety grants for police and fire departments and non- profit agencies to maintain staffing levels and combat violence
$17,484,882 since 2007 in Workforce Training