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Joshua Lee Smith is a land use and real estate lawyer who focuses on complex commercial real estate matters involving permitting, acquisitions, leasing, environmental compliance and financing. He has successfully permitted a wide variety of projects involving high-density multifamily, public utility infrastructure, higher education, cannabis, renewable energy, large-scale industrial and life science developments.  

Josh has helped clients develop properties in numerous communities throughout the Commonwealth. He has been involved in many of the most high-profile economic development projects in Central Massachusetts over the span of nearly two decades. 

His clients primarily consist of developers, public and private corporations, public service corporations, colleges and universities and lending institutions. A unique aspect of his practice, which has played a vital role in supporting the public welfare, economic development growth, clean energy goals and overall reliability of electric service to thousands of residents, businesses and institutions, includes his representation of public utility companies in the siting and permitting of bulk power substations, regional high-voltage transmission systems, LNG facilities, solar photovoltaic generation systems and battery energy storage systems. Josh also serves as an expert zoning witness in hearings before the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities.  


  • Director, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Board Member, Board of Directors of the Worcester Regional Research Bureau
  • Board Member, Board of Directors of the Southern Worcester County Economic Development Organization


  • Chairman, Board of Directors of Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Member, Westborough Economic Development Committee
  • Finance Committee Member, Worcester Art Museum
  • Corporator, Greater Worcester Community Foundation
  • Board Member, Board of Directors of Music Worcester, Inc.
  • Executive Committee Member, Babson College Real Estate Career Affinity Network
  • Member, Asian-American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts
  • Member, Massachusetts Bar Association


  • Named a Go To Lawyer for Commercial Real Estate, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (2023)
  • “40 Under Forty,” Worcester Business Journal (2011)

Articles + Talks

Media Mentions

Bar Admissions

  • Massachusetts


  • J.D., magna cum laude, Syracuse University College of Law
  • B.S., summa cum laude, Babson College

Among his many projects, Josh has advised on life science incubator and biomanufacturing facility projects in Worcester and the 150,000 sq. ft. medical device and office building development in Westborough.  

Permitting and zoning

  • 371-unit apartment complex at site of former historic Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church 
  • 161,881 sq. ft. collegiate residence hall with ground floor retail along a prominent commercial corridor 
  • Highly-publicized $92M performing arts center 
  • Numerous transit-oriented developments involving high density multifamily mixed-use projects 
  • Various adult-use marijuana retail, cultivation and product manufacturing establishments 
  • 150,000 sq. ft. office and research facility for an international medical device company 
  • 139,000 sq. ft. expansion of a collegiate athletic complex 
  • Various large-scale public utility infrastructure and improvement projects throughout the Commonwealth 
  • Expert zoning witness for a public service corporation with respect to various matters before the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities 

Purchase, sales, leasing and licensing

  • Highly-publicized purchase and ground leasing of property and permitting for development of a 36,000 sq. ft. academic center 
  • Purchase, leasing and development of numerous gasoline station and convenience store sites throughout the Commonwealth for publicly-traded and private operators 
  • Negotiation of a highly-publicized license for semi-pro hockey team 
  • Purchase and financing of multi-tenant shopping centers 
  • Purchase and development of a highly publicized 35,000 sq. ft. retreat center 
  • Purchase of a former hospital site in a multi-phased, 10-year acquisition involving numerous real estate, environmental, zoning and leasing issues 

Financing and development

  • Acquisition, development and financing of the former Worcester County Courthouse property involving a $53M development of 117 residential units 
  • Financing of a highly-publicized, $33M, 168-room hotel development 
  • Historic rehabilitation of a 135,000 sq. ft. former newspaper building complex involving New Markets and historic tax credits 
  • Financing of a highly-publicized $18M hockey rink facility and mixed-use development 
  • Leasing and development of large-scale solar photovoltaic generation facilities in various communities, including consultation of one of the largest multi-community solar build outs in the state’s history, with over 50,000 solar panels 
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