Council Approves Eight Market Rate Apartments at Former Haverhill VFW Headquarters on Kenoza Avenue

Drawing of proposed renovated building by Haverhill architect Angelo Petrozzelli.

The former Veterans of Foreign Wars Lorraine Post 29 headquarters on Kenoza Avenue in Haverhill received the City Council’s blessing Tuesday night to be converted into eight market rate apartments.

Councilors approved a special permit for the property at 62 Kenoza Ave. and an adjacent lot that will provide additional parking. Attorney Robert Harb, representing owner Sohan Saini, said the building encloses a more than 100-year-old Haverhill fire station.

“Mr. Saini and his company have owned this for about three and a half to four years. But originally, it was going to be a nightclub and that fell through. So, Mr. Saini looked at it and thought gee, this would be an ideal place for a multi-family apartment building,” he said.

Harb said plans call for the construction of six, one-bedroom units on the ground floor with a two-bedroom and a three-bedroom unit on the upper floor.

He told the Council plans also call for 17 parking spaces, some of which could be used for snow storage, and the addition of greenery around the building. He said the project will increase the city’s tax base without impacting city services.

As part of his presentation, he quoted from a letter by Planning Director William Pillsbury Jr. who said “It will be a stabilizing effect on the neighborhood in placing this essentially abandoned building back into service.”

That sentiment was echoed by Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan who said he had a special connection to the property, taking part in many family celebrations at the VFW hall.

“I’m thrilled with this project. I’m thankful for Sohan Saini for having the faith in this site to do what he is going to do. I think this is an amazing reuse of this site,” he said.

Councilors approved the special permit by a vote of 7-2 with the stipulations that all departments give their approvals, that an area for snow storage and a dumpster is provided and the finished project looks like the picture presented by the project’s architect.

Opposing the project were Council President Timothy J. Jordan, who said he cannot support more housing until the city addresses infrastructure issues, and Councilor Melissa Lewandowski.

VFW Lorraine Post 29 continues to maintain offices at 576 Primrose St. in Haverhill.

Former Veterans of Foreign Wars headquarters and lounge, 62-64 Kenoza Ave., Haverhill. (WHAV News file photograph.)

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