Retail Strategic Plan

Central Square Mass Ave at Night


The goal of the Retail Strategic Plan was to develop a strategy of best practice policies and programs that will support and enhance the ground level active use and retail environment in Cambridge. City staff worked with the consultant Larisa Ortiz Associates (LOA) to craft this strategy by understanding the City’s current retail landscape and analyzing expected development potential and retail trends. This included:

  1. Presenting an overall state of the City’s current retail while identifying unmet retail needs and how to meet them (e.g. new zoning, public-private partnerships, programming, transportation, and building infrastructure);
  2. Identifying short and long-term goals forming the basis for the City’s new retail retention and recruiting strategy;
  3. Highlighting the City’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats relating to retail retention/recruitment, based on regional current and expected conditions;
  4. Identifying appropriate retail mix for each of the commercial districts, as well as replicable methodology;
  5. Identifying key actions and best practices the City might consider to enhance its marketability and visibility to retailers and other ground floor businesses.

Additional Resources

View the Retail Strategic Plan's final report (August 2017). 

Additional reports, presentations, and meeting notes are available in the Documents tab below.

For programmatic updates related to the economic development division, visit

This project has been completed and no further updates will be made to this project page. 

June 14, 2017

The Economic Development and University Relations Committee conducted a public hearing to discuss the final recommendations from Larisa Ortiz Associates (LOA) in regards to the Retail Strategic Plan. Policy and programmatic opportunities related to the retail environment in Cambridge were also be discussed. LOA's Retail Strategy Action Plan was presented at the meeting and is available in the Documents tab. 

Location: City Hall Sullivan Chamber, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139
Time: 4:30 – 6:30 P. M. 

The meeting was livestreamed through the City's Open Meetings Portal.

May 17, 2017

After extensive community outreach, LOA presented retail data and strategy updates at 3 public meetings on May 17th. The content of each meeting was the same, although different times were provided to ensure maximum participation. The public was encouraged to attend any one of the meetings.

Carl Barron Business Forum
The Barron Forum brings together the Cambridge business community to discuss updates and is sponsored by the Cambridge Business Coalition (Cambridge Chamber, KSA, CSBA, ECBA, ISBA, HSBA and CLF) in partnership with the City Manager's Office. Please register here.
Location: Cambridge College 1000 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138
Time: 8:00 A.M.–10:00 A.M.

Economic Development and the University Relations Committee 
A public hearing will be hosted by Economic Development and the University Relations Committee. More details available here
Location: City Hall Sullivan Chamber, 795 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA 02139
Time: 3:30 P. M. – 5:30 P. M

Retail Strategic Plan Public Presentation
A public presentation will be hosted by the Economic Development Division.
Location: City Hall, Ackerman Room, 795 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA 02139
Time: 5:30 P.M. – 7:30 P.M. 

March 2, 2017

Meeting with representatives of business associations (8:00-10:00 A.M. Police Headquarters, 1st Floor Community Room). 

Minutes from the Business Association Meeting with Larisa Ortiz Associates are now available here.

Please see notes organized by topic here

March 1, 2017

Meeting with representatives of neighborhood resident groups (5:30-7:00 P.M. City Hall Annex, 2nd Floor Arts Council Room). 

Minutes from the Neighborhood Resident Focus Group with Larisa Ortiz Associates are now available here.

Please see notes organized by topic here

Meeting Materials: February 14, 2017 University Relations and Economic Development Committee meeting

Presentation materials from the University Relations and Economic Development Committee meeting on February 14, 2017 are available online:

Cambridge Business Owners Survey

The survey was open until March 3, 2017. Click here for survey results. 

CDD's economic development division had an internal kick-off meeting with a consultant team from Larisa Ortiz Associates (LOA). LOA was one of two respondents to the Request for Proposals that was issued by the city in the fall of 2016.


For more information contact Lisa Hemmerle, Director of Economic Development at or 617-349-4616