John Achatz



University of Michigan, BA, JD, 1978

John Achatz draws upon extensive experience in complex and novel real estate projects to advise clients in structuring and closing affordable housing transactions.

Over a long career, John's clients have included homebuilders, developers, owners, tenants' associations and nonprofit sponsors in development, acquisition, financing and work out transactions under most HUD and FHA multifamily programs and the programs of state and local housing finance agencies.  He has represented clients in zoning, subdivision and other land use proceedings on projects ranging from single-family home subdivisions to major urban mixed-use developments.  He has represented originators and major Wall Street underwriters in large-value structured finance and commercial mortgage-backed securities transactions, both public offerings and private placements, rated by Standard & Poor's, Moody's, Duff-Phelps and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and including financing transactions in nearly all 50 states.  John has served as special counsel to government agencies and prominent institutions, including the Boston Redevelopment Authority and the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), in creating affordable housing programs.  John represented pioneering groups in Boston in tenant acquisition of HUD-financed developments, limited equity co-ops and artist owned live-work space.


  • Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court for Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court of Appeals, First Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Represented housing authority affiliate in acquisition and development of mixed-finance projects including use of tax-exempt Fannie Mae ModExpress loan, Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, and HUD PIH Capital Fund Financing Program; this was a pioneering transaction that substantially reduced the transaction cost to the housing authority
  • Represented tenant nonprofit corporation in acquisition of large urban housing development
  • Advised clients on complex Boston zoning and permitting matters
  • Provided structuring advice to HOPE VI clients
  • Represented major nonprofit organization in redevelopment of historic structure located in blighted urban central business district for mixed commercial and residential use. The project was financed using Historic Tax Credits and eight additional financing layers involving two private and four government lenders
  • Represented marine terminal operator in first private-public real estate venture with Maine Port Authority to provide warehouse facilities to support the import and export activities of the paper industry
  • Represented joint venture of private real estate developer and the U.S. Army in the final conveyance phase for the preservation, replacement and construction of 3,200 units of on-base family housing
  • Chapter on Cooperative Housing, Massachusetts Condominium Law, MCLE, 1993, revised 2016.
  • Massachusetts Bar Foundation, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Fellow (1993-present)
  • Beacon Hill Civic Association, Board of Directors (2000-2017); Chairman (2007-2009, 2010-2011)
  • Cambridge Street Community Development Corporation, Board of Directors (2000-2016)
  • Mayor's Impact Advisory Groups:Massachusetts General Hospital (2006-present), Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary 2006-present
  • P.D. Merrill Charitable Trust, Trustee (2006-present)
  • Old Stories: New Lives, Director (2000-present)
  • Prudential Project Advisory Committee (2000-2015)
  • Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, Founder; Board of Directors (1990-1994); Advisory Board (1994-present)
  • The Boston Conservatory, Board of Trustees (2002-2008)
  • Boston Shakespeare Company, Board of Directors (1979-1986)
  • Speaker, National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO), 2008 National Conference
  • Martindale Hubbell Peer-Review Rated AV Preeminent