Site of proposed apartments near the Merrimack River in Bradford.
Haverhill city councilors tonight will decide whether to allow a developer to convert former Bradford industrial buildings into 40 apartments near the Merrimack River.
The 26 two-bedroom and 14 one-bedroom units are proposed by developer James A. Allen for 2 South Grove St.
“The neighborhood character and social structure of the new rental complex is of prime concern to us and we have designed it specifically to blend into its neighboring residences in as non-evasive setting as possible,” according to John Sava, architect. He said the housing will use less space than the existing industrial buildings and views of the river will remain unchanged. There will also be new sidewalks and lighting and access to the proposed city rail trail. Parking will be below the apartments.
One resident has already objected to the plan. Judith A Berezansky told city councilors by email Railroad Street is two narrow to accommodate two lanes of traffic and South Kimball Street is already too congested.
Property is Same City Once Planned to Buy
It is the same land Haverhill city councilors expected the city to buy last spring as part of the rail trail. As WHAV first reported in December, officials backed out of buying the former Pan Am Railways parcel behind 2 South Grove St.
“It was going to be challenging for the city to get those things done in the timeframe that we had. At the same time, however, we had concerns about whether we truly wanted to own the railroad right of way as it veers away from the river and runs into… a corridor that is aesthetically less pleasing than it would be if you were right along the riverfront,” Community Development Division Director Andrew K. Herlihy said.
Last April, councilors approved spending $60,000 to match a developer’s offer for the property. About half of the money councilors set aside was instead used to purchase two other pieces of the abandoned rail bed, Herlihy told WHAV.