Request for proposal: consultant for LOCUS Massachusetts

LOCUS Massachusetts is looking for a consultant specializing in real estate development and land use. Read the full project description below.

Scope and Anticipated Deliverables

SGA is in search of a Massachusetts-based consultant specialized in real estate development and land use (individual consultant or dedicated individual within a firm) to fulfill the following scope and provide the following deliverables. The consultant should have expertise in and commitment to Smart Growth, triple-bottom-line real estate development, and the intersections of land use and development policy with racial and social equity.

Task 1:

Strategy Support (estimated 40 hours) Working with SGA and the current LOCUS MA president, the consultant will map the landscape of current issues of concern and priorities for real estate developers and investors in MA, including in both Boston and other markets. This work will help to identify potential future projects, aligned with LOCUS’ priorities including transit-oriented development, equitable development, and land use and racial equity, and will support agenda development for LOCUS MA going forward. Aspects of this task will include:

  • Identify current areas of interest to MA real estate developers and investors, especially as relevant to equitable and triple-bottom-line development
  • Complete a MA-specific land use and development policy scan
  • Conduct coalition mapping of MA-based organizations relevant to LOCUS MA’s work, particularly BIPOC-led and community-based organizations
  • Based on the coalition mapping, create a matrix of potential partners for future LOCUS MA collaborations and current projects.

Task 2:

MA Developer Training (estimated 80-90 hours) Building from the priority mapping conducted in Task 1, the consultant will work with the SGA team to plan and deliver a virtual educational training program for at least 10 MA real estate development companies on inclusive development practices and placemaking and/or other related topics emerging from the strategy development sessions. This training, to be delivered in early winter 2021, will also build from the topics and content of the upcoming Commonwealth Communities symposium, which SGA has designed for a MA city staff and elected official audience. As part of this task, the consultant should also be prepared to sit in on and potentially review materials arising from the Commonwealth Communities symposium, which will comprise four hour-long webinars. Aspects of this task will include: 

  • Brainstorm content priorities, building from previous priority mapping, and identifying the appropriate audience level (beginner, intermediate, or advanced)
  • Attend Commonwealth Communities symposium for context/inspiration
  • Design the event format
  • Identify speakers
  • Create and execute a work plan for the event
  • Support SGA to design a targeted outreach strategy for the event and 
  • Deliver the event with SGA support.

Task 3:

Agenda-setting Paper (estimated 60-70 hours) To complement the training, the consultant will also work with SGA staff to produce a short agenda-setting paper on current real estate development and land use trends in MA. This paper will customize an existing national SGA research product for an MA audience, examining how national trends related to real estate, land use, and equitable development translate to Massachusetts markets. This work should also build from the initial scoping research on current MA real estate and land use policy priorities. SGA may be able to provide some quantitative research support for this output. Aspects of this task will include:

  • Work with SGA staff to strategize and outline the research product, building from the structure and content of a national research product
  • Interview 5-6 members of LOCUS MA about current trends aligned with research topics
  • Identify key research resources including articles, policy information, etc. (as identified in Task 1) and work with SGA staff to build out a literature review if needed
  • Draft first version of paper to be reviewed by 2-3 members of SGA staff and LOCUS MA leadership and complete edits in response to comments as needed
  • Review and comment on final designed version (editing, design to be completed by SGA)
  • Provide input to SGA on outreach strategy for the research product and plan to present key findings at 1-2 events.

The Consultant shall report directly to the Vice President of Land Use and Development. The Consultant shall interface with LOCUS staff as necessary to execute this scope. 

This RFP seeks cost-effective proposals to complete this scope, including an hourly rate for the work assignments within the scope. 

Submission Requirements

RFP submissions shall include the following:

Statement of Approach

  • A statement of approach to executing the scope of work, including a projected timeline, key activities (e.g interviews, meetings, drafts, etc.) and milestones; and 

Statement of Experience

Lead Consultant Experience.  SGA seeks a specific lead consultant to perform the work, which might be an individual consultant, or an individual consultant from a firm who will perform the work. The Lead Consultant must submit evidence of the following qualifications and experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree; advanced degree preferred; must have a minimum of 10 years’ experience with real estate development or land use and development, ideally in Massachusetts or New England
  • Knowledge and experience with, or exposure to, policies relating to smart growth and land use and development
  • Active network of real estate developers, investors, and practitioners in Massachusetts
  • Demonstrated focus on racial equity work
  • Demonstrated experience and leadership in managing projects; experience with mission-driven non-profit organizations preferred
  • Extensive writing (externally focused), oral, and interpersonal communications experience
  • Proven ability to effectively interface with executives and senior staff.

Contributing Consultant Experience.  The Lead Consultant may use a specific contributing consultant to assist with their execution of the scope and anticipated deliverables.  If this is applicable the bidder must include the bio and experience of a specific person who will assist with the work over the course of the engagement. 

Work Samples and References

  • 2-4 work samples illustrative of applicant’s experience creating the anticipated deliverables.  
  • At least 3 professional references applicable to the anticipated work and deliverables.

Cost Proposal

This RFP seeks cost effective proposals to complete the scope and deliverables above.  Please provide:  

  • Hourly rate for the Lead Consultant.
    • Our budget for this plan is Twenty-five to Thirty-five Thousand Dollars ($25,000 to $35,000). 
  • (If applicable) Hourly rate for the Contributing Consultant (see Statement of Experience section for submission requirements for the Contributing Consultant).

The overall cost and competitiveness of the hourly rates and overall proposal quality will be factors in the selection of the winning consultant.     

RFP Application Process

SGA is accepting proposals from an individual consultant or an individual within a suitable small firm by email only to both Katharine Burgess, Vice President of Land Use and Development ([email protected]) and Karen Oliver, Director of Finance and Administration ([email protected]). Please use the subject line “LOCUS MA Consultant RFP” in your email.   

We invite interested consultants to submit a proposal immediately, and will make finalist decisions on a rolling basis.  The final submission deadline is 5pm EDT on Friday, September 17, 2021 with interviews conducted the following week.

SGA is committed to building a diverse team, including through its contracting, and strongly encourages applications from Women- and Minority-Owned Enterprises. Selected finalists should be prepared to do at least one interview with SGA’s Land Use VP, CEO, and/or staff.  We seek to have a consultant selected and working as soon as possible, but no later than September 29, 2021.  

RFP Timetable

RFP Issued9/1/2021
Questions and ResponsesOngoing
Submission Deadline for Proposals9/17/2021
Finalists Invited to Present to Selection TeamWeek of Sep 20
Notification of Award/Anticipated Start Date9/29/2021

About Smart Growth America (SGA)

SGA is a national non-profit organization, headquartered in Washington, DC, that envisions a country where no matter where you live, or who you are, you can enjoy living in a place that is healthy, prosperous, and resilient. We empower communities through technical assistance, advocacy, and thought leadership to realize our vision of livable places, healthy people, and shared prosperity.  We have a number of operating programs within the SGA family that have externally facing non-profit “sub-brands” such as LOCUS, the National Complete Streets Coalition, Transportation for America, the State Smart Transportation Initiative and the Form Based Codes Institute


LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors, a program within SGA, brings together a coalition of purpose-driven investors and partners that advocate for and effect smart growth policy and outcomes. We enable smart growth development that strengthens community, prosperity, and environmental health by building and engaging a diverse coalition – driven by the private sector – around issues of development and mobility; advocating for development and mobility policies that catalyze federal, state, and local change; and providing members with the resources and tools needed to drive change in development and mobility policies in their own communities.