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Massachusetts towns offer incentives to move real estate

Massachusetts government officials in several towns closed a number of large deals that mean occupied real estate buildings in the future, but other buildings still sit empty, some of them for years. While leaders report that the commercial real estate market is improving, some of the properties can be hard to match with possible owners.

One problem could be the type of buildings that sit vacant, such as former mill buildings. However, others are new commercial buildings, zoned for office space, and officials are puzzled as to the lack of interest in some of these properties that seem to be otherwise attractive. One method of attracting new clients has been to use Tax Increment Financing Deals. Another incentive is to designate properties as 'priority development sites," which means that businesses have the privilege of expedited permit processing so that they can move into the location sooner and be up and running more quickly.

The mayor of one city in the state observed that in order to attract new tenants, businesses need to know that cities want them to relocate to their area, which can prove to be a challenge for some locations. One location that used to be a large big-box grocery warehouse has been empty for years. However, the company still had a lease on the property, so they continue to pay rent. Another location isn't near major roadways, so prospective tenants have shied away from the property. One building, located in Hopedale, has been closed since 1979. Administrators have looked at a number of options for the facility, an old factory.

When a commercial property has remained vacant for months or even years, the owners might be motivated to offer prospective clients a good value. A business attorney might be able to negotiate a mutually acceptable deal for involved parties.

Source: Metrowest Daily News, "Some vacant commercial properties sit empty for years", Kendall Hatch, July 28, 2013

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