Haverhill Awards Demolition Contract; Lupoli Project Begins in Earnest

Last June, Salvatore Lupoli signed an agreement to buy the city-owned parking lot near Haverhill Bank as Mayor James J. Fiorentini and City Councilors Thomas J. Sullivan, William J. Macek and Joseph J. Bevilacqua looked on.

Demolition of an urban renewal-era building in downtown Haverhill is imminent, marking the start of what will lead to Salvatore Lupoli’s mid-rise tower on Merrimack Street.

Haverhill Purchasing Director Steven S. Bucuzzo recently awarded a nearly $200,000 contract to S&R Construction of Lowell to demolish the single-story building at 192 Merrimack St. Costs also include environmental remediation and site clearance.

“As I understand, the work is scheduled to commence soon,” Bucuzzo told WHAV.

The city is handling the bids since the project is tied to a $9 million state MassWorks grant delivered to the city by Gov. Charlie Baker during the fall of 2016. The money helps pay for a parking deck and public park connecting to the riverfront boardwalk.

Coming down is a building recently housing Ocasio’s True Martial Arts and Phoenix Rising Church. The building, itself, came as a result of an earlier demolition project. The 1970s Merrimack Street Urban Renewal program awarded development of the parcel to former Mayor George K. Katsaros for his George K’s Crystal Lounge. It later housed a software company, Essex County Gas Co. and the Haverhill Housing Authority.

The parking area will help serve Lupoli’s planned 10-story building in the current city parking lot between Haverhill Bank and Rent-A-Center. During Baker’s 2016 visit, Lupoli said he will own a restaurant on the first floor and also bring in “a spectrum” of companies to fill the rest of the space, including a medical device company and medical space. Lupoli Companies bid $700,000— the only firm to respond to the city’s request for proposals—to redevelop the parking lot.

The demolition contractor, S&R Corporation, was founded by brothers Roger Ploof Jr. and Steven Ploof.