City Considers Seizure of Merrimack St. Property for Redevelopment

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.

8 thoughts on “City Considers Seizure of Merrimack St. Property for Redevelopment

  1. WHAT ???? WOW ! Here we go. The taking of private property THINKING it is going to make a difference in Haverhills’ future. Haverhill’s problem is a lack of soul not development. Haverhill is stuck in the past sure but it also has an issue with it’s people being divided. Look around the city. Some of those in Brahhhhhford think they don;t live in Haverhill. They think there is this special place across the river where everything is different. Some Rocks Village folks think they have their own little utpopia going same as for those up in Ayers Village. It’s all one city. People had better pay attention to this. Maineman thinks they should take it. How about if it was his property ? How would he feel then ?

    This is a bad move as it will only create more bad blood where there is already an ocean of it.

  2. This is indeed frightening! As I read this article, it would seem to say that The City of Haverhill feels it has the right to take this property just because it wants to? What if they decide they want my house or your house? To take a property by eminent domain for a highway or a City function is one thing. To take a private owner’s property and then resell that property to developers so everyone can cash in on the deal is another matter altogether. I would think that the folks on the City Council who have businesses on Merrimack Street would be hiding out from their fellow business owners.

    None of us are safe from the over-reach of governments that want and feel they can take any property as though it was theirs. And who ever would think a property owner would be forced to read about a proposed take-over of his property in the local newspaper without ever being contacted by the City? Outrageous!

  3. We’re watching an unfettered, out of control Dictatorship play out right before our eyes!!!!

    They’re making plans to use public funds to take property and they have had no discussions with the property owner??? Any city councilor who votes in favor of this is participating in outright larceny. Their is no other way to describe it. It’s a lot easier to go in and steal it then it is to pay market price, isn’t it? Can Taxman Failurentini get any sleazier???

    We already witnessed the extent of how low these people will go when they bragged about their sleazy moves in a lengthy article in the Eagle Tribune about putting together the Harbor Place deal. The Taxman and Brian Dempsey bragged about having the deal all set up but worked together to keep it quiet because The Newman building had not been sold yet, something Harbor Place hinged upon. They knew news of the HP deal could potentially delay or break the Newman sale. So what did they do? They conspired with each other to keep the HP deal quite. Dempsey bragged about it in the article. They intentionally conspired and withheld information that materially impacted the market value of a citizens personal property. All done to get what they want. And then they have the nerve to say it’s all for the public good….such BS!!!