Friday, March 22, 2013

Can Boston "Green Light" Help Stop The Red?

Officials in the city of Boston have begun to accept bids from developers as of this week for 1.3 acres of vacant land in the Mission Hill area which includes eleven parcels. The minimum bid, according to the Boston Globe story about this, is $488,000. The "catch" is that city officials will require the developer with the successful bid to build "green", meeting specific environmental guidelines in the process.

One of the requirements is that at least 15% of the project is to be for "affordable housing". Nearby this site building is already underway on a set of four townhouses, three bedrooms each, which are expected to be available later in 2013. Each of those townhomes is being built with 39 solar panels, an energy producing formula that city officials also expect the successful bidder on this vacant land to follow.

Developers are given through June to place their final bids, with city officials hoping to have the successful bidder chosen and plans in place by the end of this year. Bidders are not restricted to only residential use, as these land parcels are, according to reports, zoned for possible mixed use.

Normally, talk of requiring solar panels, building "green", and producing energy is of little to no significance to me in terms of trying to solve the problems of today's real estate market. However, I'm finding a lot of positives to this approach by city officials.

This is an excellent concept, whether the "building green" direction is used or not. Here are city officials looking at ways to improve a neighborhood with modern development, while providing an angle for certain companies to bid for the opportunity.

Those developers which can or have done "building green" now have the opportunity to be "chosen" by Boston city officials to handle a development. That looks good on their resume, so to speak, moving forward.

More importantly, it looks good for the city of Boston. It's city officials getting involved enough to arrange guidelines, review proposals, and contribute directly toward positive development, whether only residential or combined.

Here's hoping that other municipalities will become aware of this opportunity, and how it plays out this summer. Whether they adopt the "building green" angle or not to move forward with important local development, this is a positive concept.

Frankly, it is one that the banks which have foreclosed upon and are sitting on tons of properties should also be looking at. Consumers should speak up about this. The sooner distressed properties come off the market at the lowball prices they are often listed at, the sooner the real estate market can return to "real" sellers breaking even or hopefully making a profit from being able to sell their home.

That's the "green" we should all be concerned with!

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