The following is a news announcement on the City of Framingham’s website
FRAMINGHAM – The Massachusetts Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-MA) awarded the City of Framingham an Outstanding Planning Award for its strategy to create Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) in Downtown Framingham. The award was presented to the City Friday, December 14.
“We’re grateful to the APA-MA for recognizing the City’s hard work in successfully implementing a Transit-Oriented Development in Downtown Framingham,” said Mayor Yvonne M. Spicer. “The development is essential to revitalizing the downtown area, and we’re seeing the vision of economic growth come to fruition.”
The strategic Downtown TOD effort, which began in 2009, has culminated in a renaissance both in commercial and residential redevelopment in the last few years.
“Framingham has worked on rezoning and revitalizing downtown. We have thought creatively, engaged carefully, and acted decisively to attract even more businesses and people to the neighborhood,” said Arthur Robert, director of Framingham’s Division of Community and Economic Development. “It is gratifying to see our results receive this recognition from planning professionals.”
Framingham did not become a city with a Mayor until January 1, 2018.
In October 2015, the then-members of Special Town Meeting voted to support zoning changes to Framingham’s Central Business District with a goal to make Downtown Framingham an attractive, vibrant, diverse center that would become a hub of economic activity for the MetroWest region. This outcome was the result of a clear vision and long-term strategy along with a careful, iterative, and inclusive process that brought together all stakeholders to determine the best path forward.
In 2017, Framingham residents approved tax-increment financing agreements for two proposed “pioneer” transit-oriented developments for Downtown Framingham and a new Urban Center Housing Tax Increment Financing plan the Central Business Zone.
By April 2018, Wood Partners broke ground on one of those projects, Alta Union House at 75 Concord Street. The $60 million mixed-use project, which will bring 196 new units of housing to Downtown Framingham, was the first to move in a long-dormant real estate market that is currently undergoing growth and revitalization.
Shortly after, Mill Creek Residential began construction at 266 Waverly Street, which will create 270 new units of multifamily housing and invest $73 million in Framingham.
In November 2018, Wood Partners’ Alta Union House Project was recognized as the “Project of the Year” by Smart Growth America at its LOCUS New England Summit. Several other projects are about to break ground, including 59 Fountain Street, a 258 unit rehab and new construction project directly adjacent to the commuter rail.
Since the neighborhood was rezoned to encourage new housing, almost 900 units of housing have been permitted for downtown.
Additionally, there has been more than $50 million invested in commercial development from both public and private sources over the last several years.