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Development, Land Use and Permitting

Overview

Our Development, Land Use and Permitting team has the experience to anticipate and to identify the problems that often occur in real estate development projects and the creative ability to develop practical solutions. We understand the thinking of state and local officials, lenders, and other key players in the development process because we have represented each of these parties in different transactions.

While focused on achieving our clients' goals, we also focus on being collaborative with other parties in the development process as they often entrust us with important roles assisting in project management, coordination and strategic planning. This approach both expedites the development process and maintains good relations for future projects.

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Our Team

Members of the Nutter real estate team have been asked to assist in the drafting of local and state laws regarding land use. Since we have written local zoning codes and by-laws for many municipalities, we know about the unique land use concerns of many communities that relate to wetlands, stormwater issues, solid waste, traffic and similar matters. We know how permits and approvals are issued.

Our land use, permitting and development team includes: 

  • Three partners who have consistently been named to the peer-reviewed “Best Lawyers in America” list; 
  • Four lawyers who were named as Massachusetts Super Lawyers in a Boston Magazine survey; 
  • Three lawyers who were listed as “leaders in their field” by Chambers USA 2011; 
  • Lawyers who have been chosen to serve as court-appointed receivers and special masters; and 
  • A former Chief of Staff to the Massachusetts Speaker of the House.

Nutter is also: 

  • Ranked as a tier one Boston firm for real estate work by U.S. News and World Report; and 
  • Listed among the top-ranked firms in real estate in Massachusetts by the highly-regarded Chambers USA survey.

Who We Represent

Our team understands the unique needs of clients from all sectors of the economy. Our clients include: 

  • Owners and developers 
  • Companies in the biotech, life sciences and health care industries 
  • Colleges, universities and other educational institutions 
  • Energy and power companies 
  • Financial services institutions, investors and pension funds 
  • Manufacturers and retailers 
  • Government entities 
  • Public-private partnerships 
  • Redevelopment authorities 
  • Non-profit entities involved in health care, recreation, education and the arts

What We Do

Our clients look to us to act as their advocates, advisors, negotiators and drafters for every aspect of their land use and development needs. They also look to us for our permitting and licensing expertise, including assistance with project coordination and management.

Typical tasks we perform in connection with development projects include: 

  • Performing due diligence to identify and to solve problems at an early stage that otherwise could jeopardize a project’s success; 
  • Negotiating relevant purchase and sale and other land control agreements; 
  • Negotiating and drafting relevant agreements with engineers, architects, and contractors; 
  • Obtaining all necessary permits and approvals from planning boards, zoning authorities, conservation commissions and other agencies or officials, including local, state and federal environmental authorities; 
  • Identifying and solving environmental issues related to regulations affecting wetlands, coastal preservation, waste water, air and water quality and hazardous materials; 
  • Negotiating and drafting contract provisions pertinent to environmental exposure, worker health and safety, and related issues, including environmental insurance policies, indemnities and other risk-shifting agreements; 
  • Advocating for our clients before administrative agencies, such as the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the Boston Redevelopment Authority; and 
  • Negotiating and drafting all documents related to bond or other types of financing.

Our clients also call on Nutter to assist them in connection with a wide array of specific types of development projects, including: 

  • Mixed use development; 
  • Major redevelopment projects, including projects involving former military bases or abandoned industrial facilities; 
  • Multi-family residential; 
  • Specialized housing projects for seniors and others with special needs; 
  • Office; 
  • Retail, including major shopping centers and small strip centers; 
  • Transit-oriented; 
  • Hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care facilities; 
  • Laboratories, research and development centers for biotech and life sciences work 
  • Water and wastewater facility projects; 
  • Industrial projects; and 
  • Power plant projects.

Advocacy

When other means do not prove effective, Nutter attorneys are prepared to help our clients attain their objectives through administrative or judicial proceedings. We have had a great deal of success resolving such disputes.

Our team members have acted as effective advocates in proceedings conducted by: 

  • Federal Environmental Protection Agency, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and other federal and state agencies; 
  • Local planning and zoning boards, conservation commissions and other municipal boards; 
  • Various development and redevelopment authorities; and 
  • Regional commissions.

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Representative Matters

Representative Matters

  • Complex development project, including drafting of new zoning and handling the largest bond financing to date in the U.S. for a continuing care retirement community

    Provided contractual, permitting and financing legal services for Hebrew SeniorLife’s 160 acre intergenerational campus in Dedham, Massachusetts, including closing the bond issue of over $450 million.

  • Nutter represents Related Beal as groundbreaking ceremony heralds official construction start of $230 million mixed-use development

    Represented the full service real estate firm Related Beal on a range of complex issues involving Parcel 1B, a development project which includes the first large-scale 100 percent affordable and workforce housing development in downtown Boston in the past 25 years as well as a 220-room hotel, ground floor retail space, and parking; the groundbreaking ceremony was held in February 2016. Work included air rights leasing, title, acquisition, zoning, and environmental matters as well as state and City of Boston entitlements, real estate tax stabilization, and hotel financing.

  • Disposition of real estate

    Representation of YMCA in connection with a complex, 3-party sale of a portion of 316-320 Huntington Avenue to PPC Land Ventures, Inc. and Northeastern University for a new dormitory, including complex easement agreements, conveyancing and land use permitting matters.

  • Contractual and permitting work

    Contractual and permitting work for the Pearson Education/Addison Wesley campus in Reading, Massachusetts, including adoption of 40R zoning and sale of the campus.

  • Permitting and land use litigation

    Permitting and land use litigation of numerous projects for National Development of New England, including, most recently, the Bridges in Andover.

  • Permitting, contractual and land use litigation in connection with Assembly Square Mall

    Represented mall owner in extensive contractual, zoning, permitting, environmental and related litigation to redevelop the underutilized Assembly Square Mall and to develop a mixed-use project on the nearby Yard 21 site in Somerville, Massachusetts. Negotiated a new mixed-use, Smart Growth zoning ordinance, a Development Covenant with the Mayor, and site-specific permits from the Somerville Planning Board.

  • Property acquisition; permitting projects

    General real estate services and permitting of numerous projects for Tufts University at its campuses in Medford/Somerville, and Boston, Massachusetts.

  • The acquisition, disposition, permitting, financing and leasing on multiple projects in Greater Boston and Eastern Massachusetts

    The acquisition, disposition, permitting, financing and leasing of multiple projects in Greater Boston and Eastern Massachusetts. These projects have included Station Landing in Medford, Chapter 40B development of Arbor Point at Woodland Station in Newton, Forge Park in Franklin, Fort Point Channel in Boston, MetroNorth Corporate Center in Woburn, Lake Williams Corporate Center in Marlborough, Blueview Corporate Center in Canton, Mansfield Corporate Center, New England Business Center in Andover and various other office, research and development, shopping center and assisted living projects.

  • Title, permitting, and environmental due diligence

    Assisted Lubert-Adler and its partners in their acquisition out of bankruptcy of the Malden Mills property in Lawrence and Methuen, including all title, permitting, and environmental analyses, and subsequent multiple dispositions of real estate assets, including complex title, permitting and subdivision matters.

  • Top ten verdicts of 2010

    After an approximately two-week trial in October 2010, a Barnstable Superior Court jury awarded damages of $4,150,000 to the plaintiff landowner in an eminent domain trial resulting from various takings at the former Sagamore Rotary. Nelson Apjohn and Robyn Maguire represented the plaintiff. According to Lawyers Weekly, that verdict was among the top ten verdicts in Massachusetts in 2010.

    This case involved the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ takings of commercial property near the former Sagamore Rotary in Bourne, Massachusetts. The takings were made in connection with construction of the Sagamore Flyover Highway. The property consisted of approximately eleven acres of commercial property, a portion of which had been used as a gas station since the 1960s. The Commonwealth took approximately 2.5 acres in fee and approximately an additional 7.5 acres of property as a five-year easement, for use as a commuter parking lot during construction.

  • Represented a major developer in the acquisition, disposition, permitting, and financing on multiple projects in the Greater Boston and Eastern Massachusetts areas

    Represented a major developer in the acquisition, disposition, permitting, and financing on multiple projects in the Greater Boston and Eastern Massachusetts areas. These projects have included:

    • Station Landing, Medford: Handled permitting and approvals for this mixed use transit-oriented project near Wellington Circle, just outside of Boston, as well as drafting significant amendments to the Medford Zoning Ordinance to allow the development. We also handled compliance with state environmental issues and completed a Metropolitan District Commission agreement for community benefits and project mitigation.
    • Market Street, Lynnfield: Handled Chapter 40R rezoning, Development Agreement with the Town of Lynnfield, mitigation agreements with the Town of Wakefield and the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, and related approvals.
    • Other projects for this developer have included Chapter 40B residential development of Arbor Point at Woodland Station in Newton, Forge Park in Franklin, Fort Point Channel in Boston, MetroNorth Business Center in Woburn, Lake Williams Corporate Center in Marlborough, Blueview Corporate Center in Canton, Mansfield Corporate Center in Mansfield and New England Business Center in Andover.

    Our successful and consistent completion of these projects demonstrates Nutter’s ability to meet our client’s needs over a long period of time.

  • Obtained state permits and approvals for the mixed-use development on the South Boston Waterfront

    Obtained state permits and approvals for the mixed-use development on the South Boston Waterfront, containing restaurants, offices and transient boating slips.

  • Development of waterfront hotels, restaurants and marinas

    Obtained state and local approvals for several projects, including a waterfront hotel, waterfront restaurants, marina redevelopment and other commercial and water-dependent uses. These activities included adjudicatory proceedings and judicial review of state permits and licenses.

  • Obtained permits and approvals for major marine and air freight terminal within a Designated Port Area in Boston

    Obtained permits and approvals for major marine and air freight terminal within a Designated Port Area in Boston. Representation included successful defense of administrative and judicial appeals.

  • Drafted the governing agreements for the permitting of mixed-use development projects

    Drafted the governing agreements for the permitting of mixed-use development projects on public authority owned properties in South Boston and East Boston.

  • Development of regional transportation facility within federal superfund site

    Land assembly, public entity formation and development of a regional commuter rail, bus and MassDOT facility within a federal superfund site, involving brownfield redevelopment agreements with state and federal agencies.

  • Development of transportation center for regional transportation agency

    Developed parking garage, commuter rail and regional bus transportation center with retail space for regional transportation agency and Fitchburg Redevelopment Authority.

  • Represented regional transit authority with development

    Represented Regional Transit Authority in connection with the development of a parking garage serving MassDOT commuter rail station and housing development in downtown Haverhill.

  • Represented a local redevelopment authority in connection with redevelopment of the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station

    Represented a local redevelopment authority in connection with redevelopment of the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station, successfully handling the drafting of a revised Reuse Plan and zoning by-laws; the negotiation of a Disposition and Development Agreement with the master developer; the acquisition of roughly 550 acres of land for economic development purposes and 225 acres for recreational and open space purposes; the resolution of issues pertinent to CERCLA, M.G.L. Chapter 21E, the National Environmental Policy Act and the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act; and the drafting and adoption of regulations necessary to implement the revised Reuse Plan and revised zoning by-laws.

  • Represented the City of Quincy in the negotiation of a complex land disposition agreement for the proposed New Quincy Center redevelopment project

    Represented the City of Quincy in the negotiation of a complex land disposition agreement for the proposed New Quincy Center redevelopment project. This project involves a unique financing model for public infrastructure improvements.

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