Council Approves 59-Unit Water Street Housing Plan Downtown

Plans for a 59-unit multifamily dwelling on Water Street will move forward as the Haverhill City council granted a special permit Tuesday night for the new development, on the former Friend’s Landing site, 85 Water St.

Councilors unanimously passed an amended special permit request from Frank Franzone and Water Street Waterfront LLC by a vote of 7 to 0. Councilors Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien and Colin LePage were absent. There was no public opposition. Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan called the project “a great proposal” that would complement the ongoing Harbor Place development on Merrimack Street.

“It’s been a long time and you’ve been through a lot. And I think you’ve hit it on the head. We all know, we’ve been told and I agree, the future development of Haverhill for residential is going to be either on the river or closer to the highways. That’s basically where the bulk of future development is going in the city and that’s why we established the waterfront zoning ordinance, because we wanted to protect public access to the river as developments such as this take place, Sullivan said.

“It’s going to provide a nice level of housing. We don’t how much we’re going to sell these for yet, but in my business we guess. And I’m guessing probably in the mid “twos” to up to maybe high “threes.” That’s where the market might be right now anyway for housing such as this. And there’s a need for that type of housing in Haverhill and it’s going to complement Harbor Place very nicely and it’s going to complement what’s going on, on Merrimack Street and Washington Street as well,” Sullivan said.

The special permit approval comes 12 years after an initial development proposal would have created 80 units of housing in two, ten-story towers, according to Mayor James J. Fiorentini, who in 2003 was a city councilor who opposed that plan. He said then, “it would largely block the view of the river forever.”  With the city’s creation of a Waterfront Zoning District, “the rezoning of the Merrimack River waterfront, a primary goal of the project was to create public access and public space along the riverfront,” Fiorentini said in a statement.

The motion to approve was made by Councilor William H. Ryan and seconded by Councilor William J. Macek, whose amendment to follow conditions recommended by Economic Development and Planning Director William Pillsbury Jr. was also unanimously passed. “The project provides for substantial public access to the river and provides a public park, open space and the reestablishment of river dock space,” Pillsbury said.

The housing development proposal in the city’s Waterfront Zoning District moves to a definitive plan stage with the Haverhill Planning Board.



10 thoughts on “Council Approves 59-Unit Water Street Housing Plan Downtown

  1. Haverhill is full of Middle class income… who can afford an apt. for $300,000?
    How about something more manageable for the middle class….

  2. My doctor moved from their old location on Brown St. Next to the Merrimack Valley/Holy Family hospital last spring to the Pentucket Medical building next to the parking deck. I always arrive 20 minutes early but after circling the parking lot 5 times looking for a spot and finally finding one waitng for someone else to pull out I was 10 minutes late for my appointment. I told the people in the Drs office the problem and told my Dr. I would be transferring my records to another doctor. There is no need for this crap. The parking problem downtown has been created by city officials very poor planning.

    • Rich, you are RIGHT ON with that one! Our City politicians are dazzled by the thought of new development in Haverhill, but, it would seem, they never quite think it through to include the problems people have with parking. I don’t mind walking to the place of business, BUT not being able to find parking at all, really makes me angry so I refuse to do business with anyone who does not provide adequate parking for its customers.

  3. It’s obvious even the state doesn’t think we know what we are doing in Haverhill. It seems clear Gov. Baker sent Noah Koretz to work in Haverhill for three years to make sure we don’t squander the $20 million his predecessor (on behalf of us lowly taxpayers) gave us for downtown. We should all let him know of our reservations. He is at the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission (MVPC) at 160 Main St, Haverhill, (978) 374-0519. Baker made sure Koretz was across the street to make sure he wasn’t corrupted by City Hall.

  4. I sincerely hope this new proposed Water Street project will have more parking spaces than Harbor Place has. The reason all of the commercial space is vacant at Harbor Place is THERE ARE AN INADEQUATE NUMBER OF PARKING SPACES TO ACCOMMODATE THE BUSINESSES THAT LEASE THE SPACE. Once a business figures that one out, and their customers refuse to frequent those businesses, the customer base erodes and then, POOF! customers are GONE.

    An example of another Water Street facility that has inadequate visitor parking is Merrivista. Don’t know if there is adequate parking for residents, but I CAN tell you that there is a shortage of parking spaces for visitors. So where do I park when I visit Merrivista? You guessed it….. I park in the Market Basket parking lot and hope I am not towed.

    SOOOO, before those who approve these projects shake hands to congratulate themselves for a job well done, and whenever a new housing or commercial development is proposed, ONE OF THE FIRST QUESTIONS THAT SHOULD BE ASKED is…… “WHERE ARE YOUR TENANTS GOING TO PARK, AND WHAT PROVISION HAVE YOU MADE FOR SAID PARKING WITHOUT A RELIANCE ON A NEW PARKING GARAGE TWO MILES AWAY TO ACCOMMODATE YOUR DREAM OF MAKING A KILLING!”

    New developments CANNOT infringe upon other people’s property in order to meet the needs of new projects.

  5. Classrooms needed would be app. 2 to 3 or up to 60 students @ 16K per student = $960,000.00 added to the school budget per year. Consider the r/e tax of $3500.00 each unit per year = $206,000.00 total tax income the city ONLY suffers a loss of $744,000.00 a year. The taxpayers will love this.
    Haverhill zoning needs to change!

  6. “There was no public opposition.” – Even if there was, The People are ignored.

    “mid “twos” to up to maybe high “threes.” – Maybe, since home ownership is back on course to historical lows, people will need someplace to live. 5-unit structures have been on a streak over the past couple years as the only game around. Oddly, investors have not been disclosed, but we know the connections out of Newburyport et al.

    Should be great for Haverhill, shoving evermore humans in smaller places, I’m sure it will do wonders for the already crowded and dysfunctional school system. Maybe The City can give sanctuary to more illegal invaders and their families, not being literate in their own language is doing wonders in our schools.

    • The City of Lawrence is in the process of legislating at the local level their own Trust Act. It’s important to make sure the rights of those criminal trespassers are respected you know??!! Rivera is a Liz Warren disciple, so it won’t be long before Failurentini, being the proud liberal democrat that he is, follows suit.

  7. Thomas Sullivan: Can you explain how this is going to ‘compliment’ Harbor Place? And while you’re at it, maybe you can explain where people who live or visit these units are supposed to park. What are you going to do when the Demoulas Corporation starts towing cars for their long term parking at Central Plaza? Absolutely no one is going to visit a public park here because it will be taken over by the city’s most unfortunate citizens just like GAR Park.

    This is not downtown Newburyport. No one is going to travel via boat to visit Haverhill….no one!!! What is there to see or do? And why would they…so they can pay an intrusive meals tax??

    Two weeks ago Thomas you were saying that “The Acre” is the future of Haverhill. The more you talk, the more you prove you have no idea what you’re talking about.