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Matthew J. KieferMatthew J. Kiefer

(617) 574-6597
Fax: (617) 574-4112

400 Atlantic Avenue
Boston MA
Download Boston vCard




University of Michigan Law School, J.D., 1982

Boston University, B.A., 1976

Harvard University, 1995-1996, Loeb Fellow


Matthew Kiefer is a real estate development and land use lawyer who helps for-profit and not-for-profit clients obtain site control and development approvals from public agencies for complex urban projects. 

His project experience extends to market-oriented and affordable housing, commercial and mixed-use developments, as well as facilities and master plans for health care, educational, cultural and other nonprofit institutions.

Matthew also assists clients in the creation of public-private partnerships for open space, and is active in land use planning and policy and historic preservation. He is a member of the City of Boston’s Community Preservation Committee. He is the immediate past Chair and a continuing member of the Executive Committee of the Boston Municipal Research Bureau.

Chambers USA recognizes Matthew as "a preeminent force in development and land use work, having substantial experience representing developers in large public projects."  Chambers also cites a source who states that “he is outstanding at moving deals forward in a very quiet but highly intelligent and creative manner."

Matthew is the co-chair of the firm’s Green Business practice and its Climate Resilience Task Force.  

He has taught in the urban planning and real estate programs at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and MIT, and has written and spoken extensively on real estate and land use law and policy. Additionally, Matthew contributes articles and book reviews on land use planning, design and development for The Boston Globe, ArchitectureBoston, Harvard Design Magazine, Urban Land and other publications. 

Representative Experience

  • Regulatory approvals for real estate developments throughout Boston’s Seaport District, including apartments, condominiums, hotels, and tech, office and retail space.
  • Phased mixed-use developments in central Boston approved under the Planned Development Area provisions of the Boston Zoning Code, including the 6.3-million-square-foot Seaport Square on 23 acres in the Seaport and the Harrison-Albany project, a 700,000-square-foot residential and commercial development in the South End.
  • Market-rate, mixed-income and affordable residential projects in the outlying Boston neighborhoods of Brighton, Dorchester, East Boston, Jamaica Plain and Roxbury, including compliance with Boston’s Inclusionary Development Policy.
  • State waterfront licensing under Chapter 91 for projects including Clippership Wharf in East Boston, the Innovation and Design Building in the Ray Flynn Marine Park, and Building 114 and the Spaulding Rehabilitation Center in the Charlestown Navy Yard, a path-breaking project constructed above anticipated flood levels.
  • Institutional master plan approvals for major Boston hospitals and universities, including Massachusetts General Hospital, Northeastern University, Wheelock College and Berklee College of Music.
  • Representation of Harvard University in the development of its Allston campus, including several business school facilities, a science and engineering building, a district energy plant and the revitalization of Barry’s Corner with green spaces, a flood storage swale, pedestrian improvements and other community benefits.
  • Facilities for cultural institutions, including additions to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Gardner Museum and new homes for the Boston Society of Architects, Historic Boston Incorporated and the Emerald Necklace Conservancy.
  • Formation, regulatory approvals and funding options for public-private partnerships to create public open space, including representing The Trustees of the Reservations in pursuing a destination park along Boston’s historic waterfront and the Charles River Alliance in a potential public-private partnership to renew the Charles River Basin.
  • Adaptive re-use of historic buildings, including FP3, Channel Center, and 319 A Street in the Fort Point Channel historic district.
  • Historic restorations in the Back Bay, South End and Beacon Hill, including the Burrage Mansion, Zero Marlborough, 25 Beacon and Marais.
  • Developer designations of publicly-owned sites from the Boston Planning and Development Agency foir projects in urban renewal areas; from the Boston Housing Authority for housing redevelopments in Mission Hill, Orient Heights and Charlestown; and from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation for land and air rights parcels including Columbus Center in the Back Bay, the Merano in the Bulfinch Triangle and Parcel 9 in Dudley Square.
Professional and Community Involvement
  • Planning, Design and Policy:  Executive Committee, Boston Municipal Research Bureau; Advisory Board and Management Committee, ULI Boston; Contributing Editor, ArchitectureBoston Magazine; Chair, Strategic Planning Committee, Loeb Fellowship Alumni Council
  • Regulatory Reform:  City of Boston Inclusionary Development Policy Mayor's Working Group; MEPA Climate Change Adaptation Advisory Committee; Chapter 91 Facilities of Public Accommodation Task Force; NAIOP Article 80 Task Force
  • Open Space:  Co-founder, Emerald Network; Member, Trustees Collaborative for Open Space; Board Member, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, 1998-2014
  • Historic Preservation:  Co-Chair, Historic Boston Incorporated Council of Advisors; Chair, Truro Historical Commission
  • Teaching: Lecturer at Harvard Graduate School of Design on Real Estate Development, MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning; Guest Lecturer, MIT Center for Real Estate, Harvard Advanced Management Development Program
Awards and Recognition
  • Best Lawyers in America, Boston Land Use and Zoning "Lawyer of the Year," 2016
  • American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL), Elected Fellow, 2012
  • Martindale Hubbell Peer-Review Rated AV Preeminent™
  • Martindale Hubbell™ Top Rated Lawyer in 'Land Use And Zoning,' 2013
  • Best Lawyers in America, 2008-2017
  • Massachusetts Super Lawyers, 2004 - 2016
  • Top Attorneys in Massachusetts, Boston Magazine, 2016
  • "America's Leading Business Lawyers," Chambers USA 2005-2016
  • Elected to Honorary Membership, Boston Society of Architects, 2017
  • Volunteer of the Year, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, 2011
Speaking Engagements
Press Releases
num: 81
publicationsArticles: "The Upside of Gentrification," Harvard Design Magazine
publicationsArticles: "Removing the Barriers to Entry," Boston Business Journal
publicationsArticles: "States Restrict Eminent Domain," Urban Land
publicationsArticles: "The Social Functions of NIMBYism," Harvard Design Magazine
publicationsArticles: "Reacting to Kelo: State Reacts to U.S. Supreme Court's Decision by Restricting Eminent Domain," Shopping Center Business
publicationsArticles: "UPDATE: The Kelo Decision," Real Estate Business Online
publicationsArticles: "For Boston, the Lessons from Venice," The Boston Globe
publicationsArticles: "Measured by Design:  BSA Chief Treads More Softly In His New Role," Boston Business Journal
publicationsArticles: Book Review: "Wrestling with Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took on New York's Master Builder and Transformed the American City," ArchitectureBoston
publicationsArticles: "Public Planning and Private Initiative: The South Boston Waterfront," Urban Planning Today
publicationsArticles: Book Review: "Code of The City," Harvard Design Magazine
publicationsArticles: "Toward a Net-Zero Carbon Planet: A Policy Proposal," University of Colorado Law Review
clientAdvisories: Will New Green Building Codes Supplant LEED Rating?
publicationsArticles: "Defending Boston From the Sea," The Boston Globe
clientAdvisories: Massachusetts Extends Project Approvals for Two Years
publicationsArticles: "Institutional Growth Continues in Central Boston," Urban Land Magazine
clientAdvisories: Boston’s PILOT Task Force Releases Report and Recommendations
clientAdvisories: Ten-Year Plan to Reduce Massachusetts Greenhouse Gas Emissions Affects Real Estate
clientAdvisories: President Obama Proposes New Tax Credit for Energy Efficient Building Improvements
publicationsArticles: "Smooth Sailing," Boston Business Journal
publicationsArticles: "Student Life is Good," Bisnow Boston
publicationsArticles: Raise a Roof, Raise Funds
publicationsArticles: Emerald Necklace Conservancy's Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
publicationsArticles: Book Review: "Perverse Cities: Hidden Subsidies, Wonky Policy and Urban Sprawl," Harvard Design Magazine
publicationsArticles: "Climate Change and Real Estate Development: Regulatory Experimentation in the Face of Uncertainty," in The Legal Impact of Climate Change, Thompson Reuters/Aspatore
publicationsArticles: Book Review: "Building a New Boston: Politics and Urban Renewal, 1950-1970," ArchitectureBoston
clientAdvisories: MassDEP Proposes Significant Reforms
pressReleases: Goulston & Storrs Director, Matthew Kiefer, Recognized by the American College of Real Estate Lawyers
pressReleases: Chambers USA Ranks Goulston & Storrs in Multiple Practice Areas
publicationsArticles: "Putting History to Work in Boston's Neighborhoods," Banker & Tradesman
clientAdvisories: Project Approvals Get Longer Shelf Life in Massachusetts
clientAdvisories: New Stimulus for Real Estate Development
pressReleases: 36 Goulston & Storrs Attorneys Named to 2013 Edition of Best Lawyers ®
publicationsArticles: "Development Plan Pits North End Residents vs. Officials," Boston Globe
clientAdvisories: Boston Moves a Step Closer to Building Labeling
publicationsArticles: Guest Blogger:  “On the Value of Patience,” Historic Boston Incorporated
publicationsArticles: Book Review: “Eden on the Charles: The Making of Boston,” ArchitectureBoston
clientAdvisories: Peace on the PILOT Front?
pressReleases: Goulston & Storrs Director Matthew Kiefer Elected Vice-Chair of Boston Municipal Research Bureau
pressReleases: Goulston & Storrs Nets 33 Lawyers, 7 Practice Areas in 2013 Chambers USA Rankings
clientAdvisories: Massachusetts Lawmakers Tackle Zoning Reform
clientAdvisories: U.S. Supreme Court’s Koontz Decision Favors Developers in Land Use Permit Negotiations
pressReleases: Goulston & Storrs Nabs 34 Lawyers, 2 “Lawyer of the Year” Recognitions in 2014 Best Lawyers® Rankings
pressReleases: Goulston & Storrs Captures 47 Spots on the 2013 Massachusetts Super Lawyers List; 14 on the 2013 Massachusetts Rising Stars List
publicationsArticles: “Which Boston Mayoral Hopeful Will Best Manage the City’s Growth?,” Boston Globe Opinion, September 17, 2013 (with Samuel R. Tyler)
publicationsArticles: Book Review:  “Sweet and Salt:  Water and the Dutch,” ArchitectureBoston
publicationsArticles: Book Review:  “Design After Decline:  How America Rebuilds Shrinking Cities,” ArchitectureBoston
clientAdvisories: US DOE Promotes Zero-Net-Energy Commercial Buildings
pressReleases: Goulston & Storrs Launches Climate Change Resilience Task Force
clientAdvisories: Boston Regulatory Initiatives Address Climate Change
clientAdvisories: Flood Insurance Reforms Offer Little to Commercial Property Owners; FEMA Accepting Comments on Scope of NFIP Study
pressReleases: Goulston & Storrs Director Matthew Kiefer Begins Term as Chair of Boston Municipal Research Bureau
clientAdvisories: Special Committee Convened to Develop MEPA Climate Change Adaptation Policy
clientAdvisories: Comment Periods Begin for Boston’s Newly Mapped Flood Hazard Areas
pressReleases: Goulston & Storrs Expands Practice Recognition in 2014 Chambers USA Rankings
pressReleases: Goulston & Storrs Director Matthew Kiefer Begins Term as Co-Chair of Boston Municipal Research Bureau
pressReleases: Goulston & Storrs’ Richard Zielinski Named 2015 Best Lawyers® “Lawyer of the Year” in Legal Malpractice Law and Michael Robinson Named “Lawyer of the Year” in Real Estate
clientAdvisories: ULI Releases Report on Risks of Urban Flooding
clientAdvisories: Walsh Administration Releases Eagerly-Awaited Housing Plan
pressReleases: Goulston & Storrs Survey Explores Real Estate Industry’s Mixed Reaction on Climate Threats
clientAdvisories: MEPA Releases Draft Policy on Climate Change Adaptation and Resiliency
clientAdvisories: BRA/EDIC Details Response to Audit
pressReleases: 2015 Chambers USA Guide Recognizes Nine Market-Leading Goulston & Storrs Practices and 31 Leading Individual Lawyers
clientAdvisories: Proposed Extensions for Boston's Expiring Urban Renewal Plans
publicationsArticles: "What we should be asking about Boston’s Olympics bid," Boston Globe
pressReleases: Boston Land Use and Zoning Law "Lawyer of the Year" Matthew J. Kiefer Among 42 Goulston & Storrs Lawyers Recognized by Best Lawyers for 2016
pressReleases: 50 Goulston & Storrs Attorneys Named 2015 Massachusetts Super Lawyers and Rising Stars
publicationsArticles: "Does Restoration Trump Risk?" Architecture Boston
clientAdvisories: Mayor Walsh Updates Boston's Affordable Housing Policy
clientAdvisories: New Flood Hazard Maps Released for Boston
clientAdvisories: MassDEP Proposes Revisions to Facilities of Public Accommodation Regulations
clientAdvisories: Boston City Council Approves Urban Renewal Plan Extensions
pressReleases: UPDATE: 2016 Chambers USA and New High Net Worth Guides Recognize Ten Market-Leading Goulston & Storrs Practices and 34 Leading Individual Lawyers
pressReleases: Washington, DC Litigation- Land Use and Zoning "Lawyer of the Year" Maureen E. Dwyer and Land Use and Zoning "Lawyer of the Year" Phil T. Feola Among 42 Goulston & Storrs Lawyers Recognized by Best Lawyers for 2017
pressReleases: 45 Goulston & Storrs Attorneys Named 2016 Massachusetts Super Lawyers and Rising Stars
clientAdvisories: Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development Approves Urban Renewal Plan Extensions
publicationsArticles: "It's the end of urban planning as we know it (and we feel fine)," Boston Globe
pressReleases: UPDATE: 2017 Chambers Guides Recognize 11 Market-Leading Goulston & Storrs Practices and 33 Leading Individual Lawyers
pressReleases: 41 Goulston & Storrs Lawyers Recognized by Best Lawyer for 2018
publicationsArticles: 20/20 Hindsight: Did our investments position us for a bright future?
publicationsArticles: Boston Bar Journal: Navigating Rising Waters: The Public Waterfront Act
»View All
September 2017
UPDATE: 2017 Chambers Guides Recognize 11 Market-Leading Goulston & Storrs Practices and 33 Leading Individual Lawyers
August 2017
41 Goulston & Storrs Lawyers Recognized by Best Lawyer for 2018
October 2016
45 Goulston & Storrs Attorneys Named 2016 Massachusetts Super Lawyers and Rising Stars
August 2016
Washington, DC Litigation- Land Use and Zoning "Lawyer of the Year" Maureen E. Dwyer and Land Use and Zoning "Lawyer of the Year" Phil T. Feola Among 42 Goulston & Storrs Lawyers Recognized by Best Lawyers for 2017
June 2016
UPDATE: 2016 Chambers USA and New High Net Worth Guides Recognize Ten Market-Leading Goulston & Storrs Practices and 34 Leading Individual Lawyers
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