Former Surplus Office Supply to Become J.M. Lofts Housing

The former Surplus Office Supply, 37 Washington St., will have retail space on the first floor and 18 loft-style apartments above.

The former Surplus Office Supply, 37 Washington St., will have retail space on the first floor and 18 loft-style apartments above.

Another downtown property redevelopment proposal goes before the Haverhill City Council at their regular meeting Tuesday night.

The council is being asked to approve easements and a tax increment exemption agreement for the redevelopment of 37 Washington Street, the former Surplus Office Supply building. Developer 37 Washington LLC would create 18 market-rate housing units at the four-story structure, under the commonwealth’s Housing Development Incentive Program (HDIP), and within the city’s Downtown Waterfront Market Rate Incentive Zone, designated by the city and approved by the Commonwealth in 2013. The project will be known as J.M. Lofts.

"The project involves the complete rehabilitation of the 20,000+ square foot building into ground floor retail and live/work space, and 18 one and two-bedroom lofts. The lofts will feature 10+ foot tall ceilings, exposed brick, large efficient windows with generous natural light, high efficiency mechanical systems, a full service elevator to each floor and well appointed kitchens and baths," according to the developer.

Under a proposed Tax Increment Exemption (TIE) agreement, the development would be exempt from 50 percent of property taxes due in the project’s first fiscal year, and the exemption would decrease by 10 percent during the subsequent four fiscal years. The base value of the 37 Washington Street property is listed at $348,000.

The project is seeking easements within the surrounding city-owned passage ways of Newcomb Place, Mechanics Row and Webster Place. The developer proposes additional window openings to brick partition walls on the Newcomb Place and Webster Place sides of the building; and to construct or repair stairs, loading docks, fire escapes and underground utilities, among other amenities, along the Mechanics Row side.

The Haverhill City Council meets at 7 p.m.. Tuesday, in council chambers at Haverhill City Hall.

Last August, Governor Deval Patrick signed “An Act To Promote Economic Growth in the Commonwealth.” The bill increased the HDIP’s annual cap from $5 million to $10 million over the next four years, as well as increasing the amount of state tax credits available for individual housing projects from $1 million to $2 million.

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