The SouthCoast Development Partnership (SCDP) and UMass Dartmouth’s Charlton College of Business announced today that they will conduct a study to identify opportunities and challenges to developing market rate housing in urban centers within the SouthCoast. The school will survey 20 real estate developers with a track record of developing market rate and mixed income housing in urban areas of Fall River, New Bedford and other gateway cities.
“The SouthCoast's economic trajectory is closely tied to its stock of quality housing,” SCDP Director Hugh Dunn said. “Increasing our supply of market rate housing will help ensure our region’s residents have desirable options to live, more businesses will locate here, and our graduating college students will live, work, and thrive on the SouthCoast, creating a consistent skilled workforce pipeline.”
The survey will identify what real estate developers see as the driving forces for housing development in the region and what programs and processes could be improved or strengthened to make the region more viable for development. The correlation between access to transportation options, such as a commuter rail, and levels of market-rate housing will also be examined.
“Increasing the opportunities for market rate housing in the center of New Bedford is key to the growth of our historic downtown and has been a top priority for Mayor Mitchell,” said Derek Santos, who serves as Executive Director of the New Bedford Economic Development Council. “The goal is to create a vibrant and diverse downtown that has something for everyone, and market rate housing is key to making that happen.”
The survey results will be reviewed by Charlton College of Business faculty and graduate students, who will offer analysis on any common themes based on the real state developers’ responses. The overall goal of the study is to advance policy recommendations on new and existing legislation that increases development on the SouthCoast.
“The Charlton College of Business, under the leadership of Dean Angappa Gunasekaran, is honored to participate in this project in partnership with and support of the SCDP,” said Dr. D. Steven White, Professor of Marketing & International Business at the Charlton College of Business. “The University takes its responsibility to support regional economic development seriously and we look forward to increasing the scale and scope of our relationship with the SCDP.”
“Development immediately spurs economic growth in the construction trade and in businesses that are supported after occupancy,” Dunn said. “The SCDP is pleased to be working with UMass Dartmouth’s business school and the development community on this project. These are the kinds of collaborations that you can expect to come from the SCDP going forward.”
The SCDP's mission is to initiate, support and advocate for regional economic development, educational attainment, and workforce readiness initiatives that enhance the quality of life on the SouthCoast through a collaboration of public and private leaders and UMass Dartmouth in a manner that is consistent with the UMass Dartmouth Strategic Plan.