BOSTON — Boston Mayor Martin Walsh on Tuesday unveiled an economic plan for the city that includes a streamlined zoning process, the transformation of more than 300,000 square feet of city-owned property, and the creation of a new business incubator.
“Our goal is to be just as customer-friendly as you are in your businesses,” Walsh told a crowd of about 500 people at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce breakfast. “If you are looking for an opportunity to grow in the city of Boston, we are not your adversary; we are your partner. ”
The plans include the creation of a zoning expert at the Boston Redevelopment Authority to take a comprehensive look at Boston’s building codes, and the addition of a chief digital officer to upgrade the city’s website and better integrate it with social media and city television.
The job of the BRA’s zoning czar will be to identify areas where zoning policy can be amended to cut through the red tape that may prevent new businesses from investing in Boston’s neighborhoods and existing businesses from expanding. The yet-to-be-named person will also examine regulatory, licensing and permitting requirements that affect business and residential development of all scales.
Walsh says he also plans to create a business incubator in Dudley Square at the new city schools headquarters.
The incubator will be approximately 4,000 square feet, and will serve as a resource for startups seeking assistance with business services such as location, permitting, capital access, and marketing.
Walsh also pledged to work with the state’s congressional delegation to promote comprehensive immigration reform to welcome more newcomers and recruit new businesses; and to transform more than 300,000 square feet of city-owned property into vibrant commercial space at eight sites across the city.