Last Essex Street Industrial Building to Become 42 Apartments with Ground Floor Commercial Space

Architect Matthew E. Juros in front of the 86 Essex St., Haverhill, building that was approved for redevelopment. (WHAV News photograph.)

One of city’s last remaining mill buildings will see new life as a combination residential and commercial building in the heart of downtown Haverhill.

The Haverhill City Council gave the okay last night to Boston-based Rise Development to restore the building at 86 Essex St., creating 42 apartments as well as a number of ground floor commercial spaces. Donald F. Borenstein, a lawyer representing the developer, described the property.

“It’s an interesting building. It comes to sort of a point in one corner. Built in 1910, been vacant or at least well underutilized for decades. It’s one of the last remaining, undeveloped mill buildings in the core of the downtown. I really see it as, sort of, one of the last missing teeth in what has become a pretty bright smile in downtown Haverhill,” he told councilors.

Plans call for the restoration of the brick and metal exterior of the seven-story building and a complete renovation of the already gutted interior.

Project architect Matthew E. Juros of Fishbrook Design Studio said the building is an example of a unique type of architectural style.

“It’s called masonry or brick Queen Anne building. There are very few examples of this and this was one of the last that was built in that style,” he explained.

Plans call for studio, one- and two-bedroom residential units, 80% of which will be leased at moderate market rate with 20% listed as affordable. There will also be amenity spaces for residents on the first floor and in the basement as well as a large rooftop deck for residents’ use.

As it has been with other recent building proposals, the issue of available parking was a matter of concern. Borenstein said the builder has reached an agreement for the temporary lease of 55 parking spaces at the parking garage next door on Granite Street. City Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan added a condition that the builder have a permanent agreement regarding those spaces. Council President Melinda E. Barrett also added a condition that residents of the building will not be able to receive downtown parking passes.

The Council voted to approve the project by a vote of 6-1 with President Barrett dissenting and Councilors William J. Macek and Colin F. LePage absent.

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