Fiorentini to Begin Negotiations with Proposed Ornsteen Property Riverfront Developer

Michael Procopio of the Procopio Companies addresses the Haverhill City Council Feb. 25, 2020. (WHAV News file photograph.)

A long-abandoned property near the Bradford commuter rail station took a step toward restoration following Tuesday’s Haverhill City Council meeting. The Procopio Companies has proposed purchasing the former Ornsteen Heel property and building a 290-unit apartment complex, overlooking the Merrimack River.

Michael Procopio, vice president of development, gave the Council some background on his company and explained what it was about Haverhill that appealed to them.

“We like Haverhill in general as a city. We like the walkability. We like that it is its own little eco-system. It’s not reliant on other places and other communities to have a great life here,” Procopio told councilors.

The 4.8-acre property, located at 31-35 Railroad Ave., would consist of three buildings including 10,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, a garage and outdoor parking, a 60,000 square foot public park featuring an amphitheater, playground, a river walk and an area for launching kayaks and paddle boards.

The development is projected to generate $19.2 million for the city over the first 20 years, primarily in property taxes.

While the proposal was well received overall the Council pointed to issues such as traffic flow and on already-overcrowded schools. The mayor said those issues and others would, of course, be addressed before any construction began and at this point, he was only asking for the property to be designated as surplus, which would allow negotiations to begin. The council passed that request by a vote of 8-0 with the abstention of Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan.

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