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Worcester Chamber Announces Support for Housing Incentive Program

Saturday, August 24, 2013


Worcester's Chamber of Commerce has thrown its support behind tax incentives for the renovation of historic urban buildings. This property at 371-379 Main Street is one of Worcester's most recent examples of a revitalization development.

The Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce has announced its support for a state program of tax incentives designed to attract investment in developing historic buildings in urban sectors.

The Housing Development Incentive Program (HDIP) put forth by the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development provides an incentive for developers to rehabilitate some of Worcester’s older structures and transform them into quality housing that is attractive to a number of demographics including young professionals. Providing housing in the City of Worcester that is appealing to this group is a desirable goal for many reasons according to the Chamber.

What makes this program unique according to Tim Murray, president and CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, is its focus specifically on housing development.

"We want more market rate housing in Worcester," Murray told GoLocalWorcester. "We want to lure young professionals and empty nesters, and keep them here with affordable housing."

Young professionals provide a ready and willing workforce for the region’s employers, they create a vibrant and active community, bring additional revenue to the city though spending and real estate taxes, and provide a foundation for future growth. Additionally, retaining the graduates of local college and universities is the essential part of the Chamber’s Recruit, Retain, and Incubate strategy that seeks to capture and cultivate the power of young entrepreneurs and professionals.

Atrracting Real Estate Developers

One shining example of this type of renovation are the micro lofts being constructed at 371 - 379 Main Street. These attractive, urban housing choices will undoubtedly lure young professionals with their chic loft style ambience (a ribbon cutting at the property, shown above, was held just this week). By adding an HDIP Zone Program in the city, additional developers will be incentivized to create other housing options for this segment of the population in some of the underutilized mill and manufacturing buildings throughout the city.

In other words, such a program will encourage real estate companies to invest in the city, according to the Chamber. It will allow the city manager and city council to more easily negotiate with developers. This, of course, is perfectly in line with the greater mission of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.

"With this program we can more readily and successfully market the city to real estate developers," Murray said. "We let them know that we are actively attempting to improve the city's infrastructure and keep building, cleaning and refurbishing old buildings."

A Continuing Tradition

This is the logical continuation of past innovative initiatives, which have similarly sought to attract businesses to Worcester with incentive-laden programs. “Worcester has been a proud leader in the strategic TIF and DIF programs,” Murray said. “Adoption of the HDIP will continue that legacy of innovation and add yet another tool to the economic development toolbox."

For more information please visit the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce website.


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