In the Boston area housing market, there’s no longer an upside to downsizing for many empty nesters.
LET ME FIRST APOLOGIZE for any part my wife and I may be playing in worsening the Massachusetts housing shortage. Our youngest child has a freshly minted college diploma and a job. That officially makes us empty nesters, although our golden doodle might object to the description. After more than 20 years at the same address in Plymouth, we’re theoretically in a position to downsize, to ditch the drudgery of yardwork and upkeep for a simpler life governed by condo association rules. We’ve built up a pile of equity. Our 120-year-old house sits on a corner lot in a “desirable” part of Plymouth, about two blocks off the ocean. It’s updated and spacious, ideal for a growing family stretching at the seams.
HANOVER – Representatives from the South Shore Chamber of Commerce brought their vision of the region’s economic future to Hanover Wednesday night.
Town officials and the Massachusetts Housing Partnership arranged the presentation so the chamber’s efforts to spur economic development could be discussed. The event was held at the John Curtis Free Library
“Our entire 2030 South Shore economic plan looks at attracting more businesses and a broader mix of businesses than we’ve had in the past,” South Shore Chamber President and CEO Peter Forman said. “What we are looking at is: What does it take to attract those businesses?”
Business leaders on the South Shore are starting to wage war on the big-lot zoning that’s so common in many of their towns.
The South Shore Chamber of Commerce Thursday issued a housing agenda aimed at building dense housing at or near train stations and ferry docks, retail centers, even underused office parks.
Chamber chief executive Peter Forman tells me the organization needs to expand beyond its typical bread-and-butter work of hosting events and promoting commercial development. Getting more housing, particularly in walkable neighborhoods, is crucial to recruiting younger workers and keeping talented longtime residents around. Towns will suffer, Forman says, if they cling to the old way of doing business: the one-acre homes and the resistance to multifamily projects, particularly those that mean more kids.
For Rockland Trust chief executive Chris Oddleifson, who is helping lead the chamber’s effort, the problem hit home last year when his bank (which sponsors this newsletter) was recruiting an executive from Texas for a key position who ended up walking away from the offer. The reason? The high cost of housing in the area.
The chamber can’t change zoning rules, of course, and it’s not a housing developer. But the organization can champion policies at the State House, and individual projects back home. It’s one of the state’s biggest business groups. Its leaders have a loud voice, a voice they’re not afraid to use.
Jon Chesto can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @jonchesto.
By Jon Chesto, The Boston Globe
Published on September 21, 2017
South Shore Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Peter Forman said the area has been ‘a bit behind’ other regions in finding ways to attract younger workers and families.The Chamber is releasing a “Housing 2017” report on Sept. 21.
QUINCY – The South Shore is struggling to attract young professionals and young families, and the obstacles include a shortage of the kinds of housing they’re looking for, and not enough affordable places to live.
That’s one of the main points of a “Housing 2017” report that’s being released Thursday morning by the South Shore Chamber of Commerce.
The report – part of the Chamber’s “South Shore 2030” study – will be shared with business leaders at a Chamber breakfast at Lombardo’s in Randolph.
“The South Shore has a more serious challenge than other parts of the Boston area,” Chamber president and CEO Peter Forman said in a Patriot Ledger interview. “If the region is going to be serious about competing economically, we’ve got to be serious about what it takes to do that, and that includes housing.”
When a roomful of developers and business owners gather to talk about shopping malls, you’d expect them to discuss changing shopper habits, and the comparative attractions of enclosed and open malls.
And a group of 40 did Tuesday morning, Aug. 8 at the Doubletree Hilton hotel in Rockland during a South Shore Chamber of Commerce session on “The Future of Malls.” But they talked about other things even more – town zoning bylaws, malls as “destination places,” and the South Shore’s graying work force and shortage of affordable housing.
South Shore Chamber president and CEO Peter Forman, mall developers and a couple of town planners agreed that all those issues are big parts of any effort to keep the area’s overall economy healthy and growing – not just the malls.
“We may have a great market down here,” Forman said. “But if we’re 11th on the list of 10 (for development), we lose.”
In December, the Chamber convened a 26-member Housing Working Group that includes Carl Nagy-Koechlin, Housing Solutions Executive Director. Chris Oddleifson, CEO at Rockland Trust is chairing the Working Group.
The Chamber recently published an economic development plan for the region, entitled South Shore 2030: Choosing our Future. The plan emphasized business and job growth, along with the revitalization of downtown business districts. It concluded that the region needs to attract people to the region who can fill new jobs, start new businesses and patronize local businesses. With an aging population and workforce, the Chamber – with research support from the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission – has concluded that the South Shore needs 40,000 new homes by 2030 if the region is to be economically viable and vibrant in the future. Based on anticipated demand from the targeted workforce population, these homes should include a mix of multi-family rental units, in addition to homeownership opportunities.
So, housing is not just a basic human need, as affordable housing advocates have long asserted, it’s also an economic imperative for a region that aspires to prosper.
“We need new homes that are affordable and attractive to a wide range of people,” says Nagy-Koechlin. “This includes families with kids, young professionals, lower wage workers, and seniors who can no longer mange or afford to maintain their single-family homes. It’s great to see consensus on this across the Working Group members.”
The Chamber expects the Working Group report will be released in the fall, followed by a concerted effort to encourage town officials, legislators, developers, residents and others to support the development of the needed housing via zoning reforms, financing and collaboration to identify sites in the region that are suitable for housing development.
Courtesy of: Housing Solutions for Southeastern Massachusetts
Senator Ed Markey meets with South Shore Chamber of Commerce leaders; addresses regional economic development at June 2nd luncheon
Economic development and the need to attract and retain young business leaders and innovators to the South Shore and Commonwealth in general were on the table for discussion during a recent luncheon with U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D) hosted by The South Shore Chamber of Commerce.
Meeting with an audience of 60 Chamber leaders at Alba in Quincy, the senator spoke to the importance of job creation and economic growth during the June 2nd luncheon.
Sen. Markey, a long-time advocate for increased corporate responsibility called for investing in small business to spur innovation and competition.
Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan, Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch and Weymouth Mayor Robert Hedlund attended the event, during which Sen. Markey took questions from the audience.
The South Shore Chamber of Commerce will be the first business organization to receive a Housing Hero Award from the Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP) in recognition of its leadership in promoting housing and economic development.
The announcement was delivered by Governor Charlie Baker during his remarks at a May 11th business breakfast before more than 550 South Shore business leaders, held at The Lantana in Randolph. The MHP is a quasi-public finance organization that annually recognizes groups and individuals for their work in helping to create housing and economic opportunity.
The South Shore Chamber is being distinguished for its ‘South Shore 2030’ initiative, a multi-year effort dedicated to crafting a comprehensive economic and community development plan. The initiative is focused on bringing jobs to the region and addressing potential workforce shortages in key industries. Central to the effort is a 30-person housing working group that is expected to release a report this fall that will pinpoint how much and the type of housing the region needs to grow its economy.
‘We applaud the South Shore Chamber for dedicating its resources to building consensus on policies that will lead to greater opportunity for all South Shore residents and the entire region,’ said Governor Baker.
Peter Forman, president and CEO of the Chamber said he and the entire South Shore Chamber of Commerce extend deepest appreciation ‘for the recognition from Governor Baker and the MHP about our perspective on housing and its relationship to our economy.’
The Chamber will be presented the award during the Housing Institute’s Awards Luncheon on June 8th, at the Devens Conference Center in Devens, MA.
Here are a couple of numbers to get your attention: the South Shore will soon be attracting one worker in the prime 25- to 44-year age group for every three retiring workers. The South Shore remains a wonderful place to live with a range of attractive local communities, a vibrant economy, an educated work force and a expanding world of entertainment and recreation opportunities. But look down the road a few years, and the scene will not be as sanguine unless we make changes in the near future. Do something now, or pay a price in the future.
That was part of the message of “South Shore 2030: Choosing Our Future,” a report prepared for the South Shore Chamber of Commerce. The report is part of a multi-year effort by the chamber to gather and report information about 26 communities south Boston, living and working in those communities and our collective economic future. Chamber members and staff have contributed thousands of hours to the project. And the chamber paid Market Street Services, an Atlanta firm that defines itself as an economic, community and workforce development consulting firm, to assemble an extraordinary range of data about the region, analyze that information and tell us where we are, where was want to go and how to get there. Do nothing except what we have been doing, the report says, and the future is not bright.
The following are some of the findings from the Market Street Services report that was presented recently at the chamber’s annual meeting.
Market Street said the data it collected “reveals some early warning signs that regional trends are no longer pointing towards sustainable growth and success.” Extend the current trends, and we will see more residential growth without job growth, it says.
Atlanta analyst J Mac Holladay says the South Shore has “so many assets,” but challenges as well. He outlined the Chamber’s new “Choosing Our Future” report at a Thursday luncheon.
But Holladay – a former economic development director for three Southern states – said the South Shore’s economy could stall, and the area become less attractive to families and professionals, if the chamber and local towns and cities don’t work together to take advantage of what he called a “once in a generation opportunity” to get in gear with a rapidly changing economy.
And he said the heart of that opportunity will come from cultivating more South Shore business, and giving young families and professionals reasons to live and work here.
“That’s the keys to the kingdom,” Holladay said.
His comments followed a luncheon presentation of a new Market Street report, “South Shore 2030: Choosing Our Future,” which examines the area’s long-term challenges as well as its prospects.