Program Description

The Urban Renewal Program, a statutory program established by M.G.L. Chapter 121B, allows municipalities - through their urban renewal agencies - to revitalize substandard, decadent or blighted open areas for residential, commercial, industrial, business, governmental, recreational, educational, hospital, or other purposes. Urban renewal projects help municipalities redevelop deteriorated areas by providing the economic environment needed to attract and support private investment.

How it works:

Redevelopment Authorities under M.G.L. Chapter 121B and Consolidated Community Development Departments under M.G.L. Chapter 43C are eligible urban renewal agencies empowered to develop and implement urban renewal plans and projects. These urban renewal agencies are exempt from M.G.L. Chapter 30(b), the Uniform Procurement Act, when they are engaged in the development and disposition of real property in accordance with an approved urban renewal plan. This exemption, coupled with the ability to use eminent domain powers, makes urban renewal agencies powerful tools for commercial revitalization, industrial park development, infrastructure improvements, facilities renovation and brownfield site remediation. They are particularly effective in large-scale development projects and in land assembly.

Eligible activities:

In accordance with an urban renewal plan, which must be approved by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), an urban renewal agency may undertake urban renewal activities including:

  • Planning
  • Establishment of design and rehabilitation standards
  • Acquisition of land, including taking of land by eminent domain
  • Assembly of land into developable parcels and disposition for private redevelopment
  • Relocation of businesses and residential occupants
  • Demolition or rehabilitation of structures
  • Improvements to infrastructure
  • Issuance of bonds and borrowing of money
  • Receipt of grants and loans

These actions facilitate the public and private redevelopment needed to revitalize communities and stimulate sound growth.

Technical assistance:

DHCD's Division of Community Services helps communities establish and strengthen urban renewal agencies and provides technical assistance in the development and implementation of urban renewal plans.