(Posted Monday, September 20th, 2021.)
A Better Cambridge strongly supports PO #5 to raise the linkage fee for commercial development to $33.34/sqft, or to whatever level the Housing Committee deems appropriate.
With more than 8 million square feet of office, lab, and retail space in the development pipeline, it is clear that Cambridge remains highly competitive for new development, especially for large projects in Kendall Square and Alewife. It is crucial that we better mitigate the impact of those developments on housing costs, and the linkage fee is a key tool for doing so.
The recently passed 100% Affordable Housing Overlay provides an enormous opportunity for the city to create more housing to meet the needs of low and moderate income residents in Cambridge, but this goal can only be achieved if there is available funding.
Since June of 2020, more than 1.6M square feet of new office and retail space has been permitted. Had this change been in place over the past year, this would have resulted in an additional $21M in affordable housing funds. The more expediently the Council moves on this zoning change, the more expediently we can use these funds to further increase the affordable housing supply in Cambridge.