Haverhill Seeks Developers for Washington Square Lot; Seeks ‘Cultural or Innovative Use’

The city is looking to develop this Washington Square lot. In 1955, the site was intended for a future Pentucket Bank headquarters. After the building was demolished, the bank lent the site for a Christmas Carousel.

Haverhill is looking to possibly build on its burgeoning downtown skyline, requesting proposals to develop a little less than an acre of land adjacent to the Washington Square Post Office.

Proposals are due next Tuesday from interested developers for the riverfront lot at 12 Washington Square. The land currently houses the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority’s bus station, public restrooms and a parking lot, all owned by the city.  In its request for proposals, the city acknowledges certain limitations.

“The buildable area is restricted somewhat by access roads, a city pump station building located at the back of the property and a historical structure/bus station. The Little River outfall also exits along a section of the property,” the city notes.

A request for proposals says the city prefers “some sort of cultural or innovative use that would become a community focal-point and regional tourist attraction.”

Bonuses for developers include, what officials call, “innovative Waterfront Zoning, which allows for “dense development that enhances public access and open space in concert with new uses.” The city says possible uses include “distinctive” retail, offices, restaurants and housing.”

Until 1955, today’s Washington Square parking lot was home to a commercial building. Pentucket Bank bought the property, demolished the building and planned a two-story headquarters with walk-up and drive-up options. The bank put its plans on hold when it learned the city intended to take the property for parking. It paid Pentucket $67,000 for it.

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