Committee Favors Lupoli for Redevelopment of 4.5 Acres of City-Owned Land in Downtown Haverhill

Aerial rendering of proposed Lupoli project in downtown Haverhill.

Click image for Haverhill City Council agenda.

Lupoli Companies, builder of the 10-story glass “Heights” building in downtown Haverhill, is the unanimous choice of an advisory committee to redevelop 4.5 acres of city land in the heart of the city’s commercial district.

An early and informal poll of city councilors, however, suggests the proposal faces an uphill fight for approval. The resistance is related to earlier flaps over Lupoli’s payments for city land where the Heights was built and the last-minute abandonment of a planned two-level parking deck on Lupoli land at 192 Merrimack St. In an email to city councilors last Wednesday, Mayor James J. Fiorentini acknowledged the debates ahead.

“This will be a long process and there are many steps to go. I want every councilor to have as much information as possible concerning this,” he wrote. The mayor pointed out Council President Melinda E. Barrett and outgoing Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien were part of the review committee.

Plans will be formally presented to the City Council Tuesday night by representatives of developer Salvatore N. Lupoli; Tim Love, founding principal of Boston-based Utile; Haverhill Economic Development and Planning Director William Pillsbury Jr.; and members of the city’s Merrimack Street Redevelopment Committee.

Lupoli’s plan, submitted last spring, involves construction of mostly residential buildings comprised of two six-story buildings, and one four-story building and a three-story, 570-space parking garage. Lupoli offered $250,000 for the land—the lowest of five bids received. All developers, however, are required to pay for a parking garage to replace the more than 40-year-old Herbert H. Goecke Jr. Memorial Parking Deck.

One of the two six-story buildings would be built along Merrimack Street with 17,650 square-feet of street-level retail space and 88 residential units above. The other six-story building would contain 126 residences adjacent to Park Way Extension and How Street. Likewise, the four-story building proposed would also be entirely residential with 36 units next to Bailey Boulevard.

The project does not appear to include a new north-south street off Merrimack Street as several other developers proposed. Prior to urban renewal, Fleet Street, adjacent to land owned by Pentucket Bank, gave drivers a last chance to avoid what has since become a continuous block of buildings, hindering northbound travel before White’s Corner.

Variables expected to be discussed are possible redevelopment of land owned by Pentucket Bank at White’s Corner and the Landmark building across Merrimack Street that was featured in a competing proposal from Panifex of Boston with local liaison Francis J. Bevilacqua III.

Lupoli faced competition from Dakota Partners of Waltham which bid $3 million; Jefferson Apartment Group of Newton and Planning Office for Urban Affairs, Boston, one of the developers of Harbor Place, which bid $500,000; Panifex of Boston which offered $5 million; and Trinity Financial of Boston proposing separate payments of $579,710, $159,240 and $260,870 for separate phases of its project.

The Haverhill City Council meets online and in-person tomorrow at 7 p.m., in the Theodore A, Pelosi City Council Chambers, Haverhill City Hall. As a public service, the meeting will be broadcast live by 97.9 WHAV.


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