NEWTON, MA-All permits are finally in hand for a 300-unit multifamily development that will be built by Avalon Bay here on Needham Street. The company, which filed for a comprehensive permit for the project, has been pursuing the necessary approvals for over 15 months. Construction is set to begin this spring.

The site of the 294-unit luxury development was formerly home to the New England Concrete Pipe manufacturing plant and was zoned for a mixed-use development. But the comprehensive permit–which necessitates that the project includes a 25% affordable housing component–enabled the company to bypass the local zoning laws. But Bill McLaughlin, vice president of development for Avalon Bay, tells that circumventing the local laws was not the reason the company filed for a comprehensive permit. Rather, he says, the zoning board “was just the straightest path to go.” Newton, he notes, has inclusionary zoning laws anyway which would have required an affordable housing component. “From a community standpoint, the project would have been identical,” points out McLaughlin.

Despite the recent increases in vacancy rates and the lower rental rates, McLaughlin insists that the local multifamily market in this area remains stable. “The market has clearly softened,” he acknowledges, “but for a luxury development like this in this kind of location” he is not worried. McLaughlin also notes that even with a minor market setback, multifamily housing remains solid as a long-term investment.

Avalon Bay has over one million sf of housing currently under construction within Route 495 and another million sf in the pipeline. Other major multifamily developers–such as Equity Residential Properties Trust and JPI–also have a number of multifamily developments in planning or under construction in the Greater Boston area. Some of the marginal investments will not occur and some of those projects, says McLaughlin, are leftovers from the “scorching hot market” of 1998 to 1999. “There is a real lag time” for these kind of projects, he says. But basically this area is a fairly stable market for multifamily housing, notes McLaughlin, and the myriad of projects are indicative of that stability.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?


© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.



Join GlobeSt

Don't miss crucial news and insights you need to make informed commercial real estate decisions. Join now!

  • Free unlimited access to's trusted and independent team of experts who provide commercial real estate owners, investors, developers, brokers and finance professionals with comprehensive coverage, analysis and best practices necessary to innovate and build business.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and GlobeSt events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join GlobeSt

Copyright © 2024 ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.