Pierce Atwood’s Boston-based commercial real estate team has extensive experience in all aspects of commercial development in Greater Boston and beyond.  Our real estate attorneys provide comprehensive services to commercial developers in site selection, due diligence, land use analysis, land acquisition, title clearing, permitting strategy, and all related litigation, including defense of permits and challenges to improper permit denials.  Scores of real estate developers count on our attorneys for skilled guidance through the permitting maze, resulting in successful, profitable developments across Massachusetts. 

Our team has especially deep experience in Boston and its western suburbs, the North Shore, the South Shore, Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard.  In addition to commercial real estate developers, our clients include major corporations and nonprofit institutions, asset managers, leasing agents, and private property owners.

No matter where you are in the critical phases of real estate development, Pierce Atwood’s real estate team is your ideal legal partner. Our decades of practice have given us the relationships and local, on-the-ground knowledge needed to provide sound advice in matters such as zoning and land use law, waterfront disputes, affordable housing, and public use of private land. We’ve helped thousands of clients in Boston and around Massachusetts navigate complex land use regulations and complete successful developments. 

Areas of Expertise

Zoning & Land Use

Pierce Atwood real estate lawyers have decades of experience advising local and regional developers on complex development projects in Greater Boston, where city and town planning processes and local land use regulations are at issue. Our team knows and understands the local zoning codes and other regulations that govern development in the City of Boston and surrounding communities. We’re prepared to handle the most complicated projects that require knowledge of the state Zoning Act known as Chapter 40A, the state Wetlands Protection Act, the corresponding local zoning and wetlands ordinances and bylaws, and the variety of other state and local regulations that govern land use.  In addition to this expertise, our strong relationships with zoning boards, planning boards, and other land use authorities in Boston and surrounding cities and towns allow us to simplify and expedite the land use permitting process. Pierce Atwood’s real estate attorneys can turn your plans into profitable development projects, supporting you from site selection to occupancy.

Chapter 91

Our team is experienced with Boston waterfront development including municipal harbor plans and waterfront property rights and easements, and other mixed-use development projects that must adhere to Boston zoning laws.

Public Use of Private Land

These projects require a comprehensive understanding of land use restrictions pertaining to private lands, easements, wetlands and parks. Knowledge of, and experience with, Article 97 of the Massachusetts Constitution, “the Right to a Clean Environment in Massachusetts,” and regulatory taking procedures and criteria are essential here.

Affordable Housing

Pierce Atwood’s legal team has experience representing both for-profit and nonprofit developers of affordable housing under the state’s affordable housing law known as Chapter 40B.  We represent applicants for comprehensive permits under Chapter 40B in front of local zoning boards and the Boston Planning and Development Agency (formerly the Boston Redevelopment Authority). Due to the rapid development and increasing cost of living in the city of Boston, affordable housing carve-outs and tradeoffs are increasingly common.  We are also familiar with Fair Housing Act regulations, public-private partnership arrangements, land disposition agreements and other affordable housing considerations that often arise in major projects.