The city may study taking property at 60 Merrimack Street.
The city is considering seizing a Merrimack Street property that stands in the way of Merrimack Street redevelopment.
Haverhill city councilors will be asked Tuesday to transfer $3,500 to purchase “appraisal services relative to an eminent domain proceeding for real property located at 56-66 Merrimack St.” City Solicitor William D. Cox Jr. told WHAV any such taking is not necessarily related to the $68 million Harbor Place project already underway.
“The city is in the preliminary stages of reviewing the taking of that particular parcel,” he said. “It would be a public purpose…the city has an interest, and it certainly fits within the waterfront district redevelopment plan.” Whether the property is eventually taken and resold to developers is a matter the city is exploring, Cox said. He added there has been no discussion with the owner of the property, D. R. Locke LLC, managed by Douglas R. and Patricia A. Locke of Boxford.
As WHAV first reported last month, Lahey Health Behavioral Services, 60 Merrimack St., is considering moving some services next door and closing others as it leaves “the building in stages to accommodate development plans.”
“Attached is an order for the transfer of $3,500 to be transferred from ‘Other Budget Reserves’ to ‘Legal Consultant Services’,” Mayor James J. Fiorentini said in a letter to the council. “I recommend approval.”
Meanwhile, the developers of Harbor Place expect to close on the purchase of the former James V. Smiley School, 969 Main St., by the end of next month. The Greater Haverhill Foundation has agreed to buy the school for $187,500 and said it would make it available to house Angel Care Kids Therapy Center, now at 70 Merrimack St.
The 60 Merrimack Street building currently is an island between portions of the $68 million Harbor Place project. Developers purchased buildings both to the east and west of the building. Last December, city councilors also approved easements at the rear of the property to accommodate piling, access and utilities for Harbor Place. The city paid $10,000 in damages to D. R. Locke LLC for those earlier takings.