Following the City’s Lead, Haverhill Developer Says It Has Resolved Clerical Error Delaying Payments

Salvatore N. Lupoli breaks ground on his “Haverhill Heights” complex at a ceremony on Oct. 18, 2018. (WHAV News file photograph)

First the City of Haverhill said it would take steps to make sure it properly sends out and tracks bills and, now, the company building a 10-story building downtown says it too has resolved errors and will make city payments as agreed.

The issue came to light recently when City Council Vice President Colin F. LePage reported Lupoli Companies, constructing “The Heights,” had not made mortgage payments totaling more than $225,000 for purchase of a city parking lot. City Finance Director Charles Benevento told councilors the city holds no other mortgages and hadn’t sent out a bill. Similarly, Jessica Tocco, spokeswoman for Salvatore N. Lupoli, told WHAV Friday the company has also made a change.

“We understand that it was a clerical error and we will do everything in our power moving forward to work directly with the mayor’s office so there are no errors in the future so that we will be able to make all of our bills current moving forward,” she said.

She says the company remains enthusiastic about its investment in Haverhill and has been able to keep as many employees working as possible despite the current pandemic. She explains the firm continues construction in full compliance with COVID-19 requirements. Moreover, she notes, last week, the Lupoli companies was again named as one of the “Largest Commercial Developers in Massachusetts” by the Boston Business Journal. Tocco explains Lupoli is the fifth largest developer in the Commonwealth—moving up from eight place last year—and has also been named one of the largest philanthropic organizations as well.

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini has also praised the developer for continuing work despite difficult economic conditions caused by the pandemic. He told councilors the city’s interest were always safe.

“The city was never in any risk whatsoever of losing its money on this project. We have had a longstanding policy, which we enforce, that you can’t get permits—you can’t get your occupancy permit in particular—until the money is paid that you owe us. That was never a concern,” the mayor said.

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.

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