Lynn Economic Development Strategy
The City of Lynn, Massachusetts is an older industrial city located on the waterfront in the North Shore region of Massachusetts, within 10 miles of Boston. Lynn lacks convenient Interstate access as well as readily available land for large-scale development.
As with many urban centers in the Northeast, Lynn’s employment base had declined in recent decades, as regional employment increased. Most of Lynn’s decline was in the manufacturing sector, and mainly due to downsizing at the General Electric plant. The downward trend in employment affected the City’s real estate tax base; residential properties accounted for nearly 90 percent of total taxable assessment in 2004, up from 75 percent in 1985. It was also determined that Lynn had lost nearly $160 million in annual sales of consumer goods and services. Lynn was transitioning from a regional economic center to a bedroom community.
RKG Associates's work on the City's Economic Development Strategy included a survey of local employers to understand their experiences and specific needs in the future. RKG utilized the City’s GIS files to identify and define conditions in eight economic opportunity zones, where nearly all of the City's commercial and industrial properties existed.
The development strategy targeted business retention and expansion, attraction of new investment, and redevelopment of the under-valued properties to higher-value uses. These were translated into specific goals regarding new jobs, new housing units and new real estate tax revenue, with accompanying strategies like zoning changes, targeted public sector investments and organizational changes within local government that would improve coordination.
This was the sixth major project RKG had led for Lynn. Since, the City has experienced significant gains in its residential market, including more than 250 new downtown condominium units, another 400 to 500 units are in planning. Correspondingly, Lynn's taxable assessed values have nearly doubled since the Strategy was commissioned.