Public Finance


Private activity bond financing has been a specialty at Davis Malm since its founding in 1979. The firm has established long-term relationships in the industry and has earned a reputation for client-oriented service, high-quality work, and creative problem-solving. We have extensive, significant, and longstanding experience representing public agencies and authorities in using tax-exempt bond financing for economic and industrial development, residential rental housing, and not-for-profit organizations in municipalities across the Commonwealth as well as in other New England states.

We have extensive experience in public finance transactions, having acted as bond counsel, underwriter's counsel, trustee's counsel, borrower's counsel, credit enhancer's counsel, and purchaser's counsel for over 300 tax-exempt bond transactions.

Davis Malm has a long history of commitment to furthering economic development in the Commonwealth, as is reflected in our relationships with governmental development programs, including the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency (MDFA) and its predecessors, the Department of Housing and Community Development's Massachusetts Community Capital Fund, the Massachusetts Business Development Corporation, the New England Certified Development Corporation, the South Shore Economic Development Corporation, the Northeastern Massachusetts Economic Development Corporation, the East Boston Community Development Corporation, and the Commonwealth's Tax-Exempt Local Loans to Encourage Rental Housing (TELLER) Program.

We also have extensive experience and expertise in advising lenders and borrowers on the use of economic development programs offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Export-Import Bank.

Two of our public finance attorneys drafted enabling legislation authorizing the issuance of tax-exempt special assessment bonds to finance local municipal infrastructure, which was enacted in 2012 as Chapter 23L of the Massachusetts General Laws.

Since 1981, Davis Malm has had the distinction of being listed as bond counsel in The Bond Buyer's Municipal Marketplace (known as the "Red Book"), the industry's comprehensive reference source.

We are one of only a few law firms in Massachusetts selected as approved bond counsel for the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency, the principal state agency issuing tax-exempt private activity revenue bonds. Prior to the restrictions imposed by the 1986 Tax Reform Act, Davis Malm consistently handled more industrial revenue bond transactions (more than 50 per year) with the Massachusetts Industrial Finance Agency and local municipal industrial development financing authorities than had any other Massachusetts law firm.

During 2006 and 2007, the firm acted as bond counsel and/or agency counsel for 65 MDFA bond issues, including section 501(c)(3) bond issues for charter schools, private schools, YMCAs, Boys & Girls Clubs, and other nonprofit organizations, small-issue manufacturing facilities, and recycling facilities. We also have extensive experience in the use of numerous innovative financing techniques such as tax-exempt leasing and special purpose municipal districts.

The seasoned talent and extensive experience in public finance, real estate, land use, zoning, and environmental law at Davis Malm provide the resources to efficiently staff and process the development and financing of large or complex projects requiring multidisciplinary legal skills.

Representative Matters

  • Acting as bond counsel for a state economic development agency and a western Massachusetts municipality in a $12 million financing for the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, including a $3.8 million loan under the HUD Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program.
  • Acting as bond counsel for the Commonwealth's first private septage-treatment facility (located in the town of Carver), a project that involved modifying the then-proposed IRS regulations defining sewage-treatment facilities.
  • Acting as underwriter's counsel in a $150 million tax-exempt special assessment bond financing for infrastructure improvements for the NorthPoint property in Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston.
  • Acting as underwriter's counsel in a $60 million tax-exempt financing for infrastructure improvements for the SouthField project at the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station in Weymouth, Abington, and Rockland.
  • Acting as bond counsel and underwriter's counsel for the financing of the new Boston Seafood Center (using bond financing, empowerment zone grants, and HUD Section 108 financing).
  • Acting as counsel in the tax-exempt bond financing through MDFA for an assisted-living project in Walpole, Massachusetts.
  • Acting as counsel for a state economic development agency and three eastern Massachusetts municipalities for the financing of the River's Edge project in Malden, Medford, and Everett under the HUD Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program.