• Project
  • Northeast
  • Downtown
  • Strategic Planning

Developing an Action Strategy for Downtown Hyannis, MA

December 6, 2021 Christa O. Franzi, CEcD

Image Source: Hyannis Main Street BID


Downtown Hyannis has long been a vibrant seasonal tourist destination, but it also functions as the urban center for Cape Cod. The neighborhood is home to a number of strong cultural institutions, social service providers, critical transportation hubs, and government entities. Efforts have been underway over the past decade to leverage the existing assets to build a resilient year-round economy by increasing the density and availability of housing, while simultaneously developing mechanisms to create and retain living-wage job opportunities. COVID-19 has illuminated the vulnerabilities associated with the seasonal nature of the economy and initiated a paradigm shift in how people live and work. This has created a renewed sense of urgency for the community to unify under a common vision and place itself in a position to channel future public and private investments thoughtfully and strategically.


MassDevelopment in partnership with Town of Barnstable hired Camoin to facilitate a strategic planning process for Downtown Hyannis. The purpose of the Downtown Hyannis Action Strategy is to coalesce ongoing efforts and catalyze that momentum within a focused, actionable strategy for downtown that will function as an implementation roadmap for Hyannis to cement itself as a resilient year-round community in the heart of Cape Cod.

Together, we identified strategies and actions within the goal areas of:

     Strengthen capacity, collaboration, and tools for economic development

     Build downtown as an arts and culture destination

     Support downtown with state-of-the-art infrastructure

     Increase resiliency through economic diversity

     Buildout housing and commercial stock to meet current and future needs

The Illustrative Downtown Opportunity Concept Map graphically represents the connection between existing conditions and desired future for Downtown Hyannis. The plan depicts current and planned projects (purple), focus areas for public space activation and place making recommendations from complementary reports (green), opportunity sites identified as part of this planning process (red), and the central Main Street corridor (orange). A ten-minute walking radius was drawn from both the Transit Center and the Ferry Terminal to illustrates that visitors arriving by bus or ferry can easily walk to many points along the eastern end of the study area, which is where most of the projects and initiatives are concentrated.

Real Results

The Town and MassDevelopment worked together to organize and workshop strategies and actions outlined in the Action Plan Matrix. Through a collaborative process, the Town, MassDevelopment and their partners are prepared to carry out projects and initiatives to enhance Downtown Hyannis to the become a desirable location for companies, residents, and visitors.

To jump start the downtown vision, Camoin developed a site concept plan for a critical site, 200 Main Street, that showed the development potential and building style to enhance the main traffic corridor to Hyannis.

The Downtown Hyannis Action Strategy combines a vision for the future of downtown Hyannis and a detailed, actionable plan for attaining that vision. As the downtown evolves and related conditions and economic drivers shift, the vision for downtown may also evolve, resulting in future modifications to the plan. The Action Plan Matrix includes a prioritized list of actions and strategies needed to successfully implement the Downtown Hyannis Action Strategy. The Action Plan Matrix will be referred to and refined frequently as projects and initiatives are implemented and new actions emerge.