Example Calculation: Suburban Waterfront

On about 75,000 SF of land located in Private Tidelands in Lynn, MA, a project owner has proposed a mid-rise housing complex abutting the shoreline. The construction style is low-rise, stick-built construction built on top of an above-ground parking structure. The complex contains 175 condominiums and 225 units of aboveground residential structure parking (per default parking ratios in the area). 40,000 SF of the site is dedicated to open space. Lynn is located in the "Inner Suburban Boston" market context in the calculator.

Results and Analysis

  • The “proposed project”achieves about 232,500 SF of floor area overall and an estimated value of $11-$13M.
  • A legally permissible “comparison project” could contain about 412,950 SF of floor area overall. Assuming a similar program of uses with parking scaled proportionally, it would achieve a value of ~$24-27M.
  • There is a “negative” value premium in this case of -$12-$14M. This means that, in theory, the project owner is not building out to the largest density posisble under the Public Waterfront Act requirements that are in force.

Figure 1. The scope and estimated land value of the proposed project does not exceed that of the comparison project.

In this scenario, no further action is required. Because the project owner is abiding by Act height limits and is delivering a greater amount of open space than the minimum requirement, public access is protected and possibly even enhanced.

However, it is helpful to explain the reasons a project owner would not seek to build to the maximum allowable density onsite per Public Waterfront Act regulations:

  • The project owner has evaluated the local market demand for condominium space and determined that delivering more than 125 condo units might result in some units remaining vacant too long after they arrive on the market. Although the parcel can accommodate greater scale, the market does not support greater scale.
  • The project owner seeks to invest considerable area and resources into a marquee open space that contributes to the overall value and branding of the project.
  • The project owner is limiting the scale of development to adhere to other regulations beyond scope of the Public Waterfront Act.

Calculator Inputs

Basic Inputs

  • Total Site Area (square)75,000
  • Setback between Site Area and Shoreline0 FT
  • Tideland TypePrivate Tideland
  • CityLynn
  • Market ContextInner Suburban Boston

Real Estate Assumptions

  • Building UseResidential
  • Residential condominium units125
  • Open Space40,000

Proposed Project Assumptions

  • Construction StyleLow rise stick-built
  • Parking Construction StyleAboveground structure parking

Comparison Project Assumptions

  • Construction StyleLow rise stick-built
  • Parking Construction StyleAboveground structure parking

Parking Assumptions

  • Auto-calculate parkingYes