‘The Heights’ Promises Mortgage Payment This Week; Haverhill Plans to Tighten Collection Policies

Never-before-seen views of the Merrimack River provide a backdrop as developer Salvator N. Lupoli, right, talks with college President Lane A. Glenn and Culinary Arts and Hospitality Program Manager Denis Boucher. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Following the revelation that a downtown developer had not made two required mortgage payments, the city has received a promise that at least the oldest amount will be paid this week.

City Council Vice President Colin F. LePage told WHAV this week that “The Heights” 10-story Merrimack Street building under construction by developer Salvatore N. Lupoli, owes more than $225,333 to the city for two annual mortgage payments. A statement from Mayor James J. Fiorentini’s office yesterday confirmed the amount.

“The current tax payment was due about two weeks ago. It is still within the payment grace period. The other late payment is in fact overdue,” the statement said. Fiorentini also told WHAV the city will also tighten its policies to track overdue payments, send reminders and issue demand notices, if necessary.

“Mr. Lupoli indicated to the mayor today that payment will be made this week. Regardless, we are sending them a formal demand notice today for the late payment. We appreciate the investment in our city, but like any other taxpayer in the city, payments have to be made,” the statement added.

No explanation for the late payment was provided. WHAV asked the mayor if the matter was an oversight. “I’m sure it is. We don’t have any dispute with him. We’ll get a hold of him and see what the story is,” he said.

WHAV also left a message this week for Lupoli through his lawyer.

In 2016, Lupoli agreed to pay $701,000 to buy the city’s Riverfront Promenade parking lot between Rent-A-Center and Haverhill Bank on Merrimack Street. In a revised 2017 purchase agreement, the developer agreed to pay $25,000 down and $112,666 a year for the property.

The building will house a Salvatore’s restaurant on the first floor, Northern Essex Community College’s new downtown culinary arts center on two floors, apartments and a sky bar.

Fiorentini’s office stood behind the project yesterday, saying, “During the worst economic downturn in nearly a century, billions of dollars in projects in Massachusetts did not go forward.  We are grateful that this one will move forward.”

LePage is asking the full Council next Tuesday to discuss the “oversight and enforcement of terms and conditions of city negotiated contracts with private parties.”

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