City Plans Land Taking to Support Harbor Place Downtown

For the first time since the city’s urban renewal program of the 1960s and 1970s, the city is poised to take private downtown land by eminent domain.

The order of taking on Tuesday’s Haverhill City Council agenda includes both temporary and permanent easements to support access to the $68 million Harbor Place project. The easements principally affect one of only two buildings between Main Street and the Landmark Building not purchased by developers. In exchange for easements for “utilities, pilings and other improvements,” the city is offering $10,000 to the owners of 60 Merrimack Street, which houses North East Behavioral Health.

“This taking does not include structures presently situated on the easement premises, but does include the right of the city to remove such structures whenever their removal shall be required for said easement purposes. This taking does include such trees and shrubs within the easement premises whose removal is necessary to carry out the purposes of the easements taken herein,” according to documents before city councilors.

D. R. Locke LLC, operated by Douglas R. Locke, 5 Middleton Road, Boxford, is listed as owner. Locke purchased the property for $3.1 million in 2007.

The council will also place on file for two weeks an ordinance providing patient drop-off/pickup zones for North East Behavioral Health and Angel Care Kids to protect the businesses during Harbor Place construction.

Two pages of the document before city council were not made available to the public. WHAV has requested copies of the missing pages.

Harbor Place, a commercial building proposed to replace the vacant Woolworth’s Department store and other buildings, is 80 percent leased with UMass—Lowell taking two floors, Pentucket Bank taking a floor for its executive offices and HC Media taking a small portion of the first floor for a satellite recording studio. The developer is Merrimack Street Owner LLC, a consortium comprised of the Boston Archdiocese’s Planning Office for Urban Affairs, Greater Haverhill Foundation and Boston attorney Frank Giso III.

2 thoughts on “City Plans Land Taking to Support Harbor Place Downtown

  1. As much as I am for making the CIty of Haverhill a desirable location for bringing in new bussiness and jobs for the people of Haverhill who live here. I am curious as how this is going to effect those who rely on such services provided by North East Behavorial Health Clinic??? Which for many individuals has been a place for years to recieve the much needed services in need of.Such moving and shuffling clients around who are in much need of these services and there is a great demand of clients who are in this situation, is going to be anxiety provoking and cause even more stress on and have a major stressing impact on clients. I feel when it comes too clients who are in need of services this is another example of Mental Health clients who dont have vehicles, who dont drive, or have the extra money for taxi or bus services are being thrown into the lions den. I am told clients will be referred to other mental health locations. What if these places are are already overloaded with client cases, which from experience they are and it take such a long time and waiting lists. Oh well, just another day for some, and for those that are affected by these changes could or maybe devasting or even traumatic stressors.