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BOSTON-A representative from the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties will testify before the Joint Committee on Housing and Urban Development in support of increasing the city’s linkage fees and decreasing the payout period in the city’s neighborhoods.

The linkage fees are payments developers of large projects provide to the city to fund affordable-housing and job-training programs. David Begelfer, CEO of NAIOP, a trade organization that represents companies involved with the development, investment, management and financing of commercial properties, as well as those companies providing services to this industry, tells GlobeSt.com that his organization believes that housing is a crucial issue for the success of his constituents’ success. “Housing fuels the growth of business in Boston,” he says. “It goes hand in hand with economic development and it is in our best interest.” Begelfer points out that the increase essentially represents where the linkage fees would be now without the recession of the early 1990s, when it was decided to hold off on an increase.

As part of the linkage program, the downtown area’s payout period was seven years while the payout period for city neighborhoods went up to 12 years. This new bill would reduce the payout period to seven years for all areas of the city, which notes Begelfer, will bring areas, like the waterfront in South Boston into the mainstream and provide them with additional funding more quickly.

Begelfer insists that the increased linkage fees will not discourage development in this city. He points out that there is an exemption on the fees for the first 100,000-sf of space in a development and the “demand for space and impediments to growth here make space valuable. Obviously, the city is different than the suburbs, but there is an even playing field here.”

Begelfer points out that a good portion of the commercial real estate community here supports this legislation. “There is a strong consensus to go along with this from real estate development leaders,” he says. “That doesn’t happen often.”

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