Lupoli Sells Downtown Haverhill Properties, Plans to Keep Management and Development Role

The entrance to 160 Merrimack Street receives final touches in 2020. (WHAV News photograph.)

Culinary Arts and Hospitality Program Manager Denis Boucher and college President Lane A. Glenn tour the construction site in 2019. (WHAV News photograph.)

The designated builder of a $160 million downtown Haverhill redevelopment recently sold its 10-story Heights building and related Merrimack Street properties for $25.7 million.

While undisclosed at the time, Haverhill discharged its second mortgage on the Heights at 160 Merrimack St., Feb. 15, and the properties were sold March 30 to AG Palmdale Real Owners, according to the Southern Essex District Registry of Deeds. The buyer is a Delaware limited liability company with offices in Irvine, Calif. Heights developer Lupoli Companies told WHAV in a statement Monday the company will continue to oversee the property.

Developer Salvatore N. Lupoli confirms plans for a restaurant along the downtown riverfront boardwalk during the governor’s visit in 2016. (WHAV News file photograph.)

“As a result of a resounding success with The Heights at Haverhill, the Lupoli Companies have been contacted and have entered into an agreement with some large-scale investors that want to invest in Haverhill, MA—now and in the future. The Lupoli Companies took on these partners because they have extensive experience in investing in large-scale projects. Lupoli Companies will continue to be the managers and developers of all Haverhill programming now and in the future. We look forward to bringing economic growth to Downtown Haverhill,” the statement said.

The Heights was built on the city’s former Riverfront Promenade Parking Lot. The Lupoli Companies of Lawrence was the only firm in 2016 to place a bid. It ultimately paid $701,000 to buy the property between Haverhill Bank and Rent-A-Center. While City Hall was closed Monday for Patriot’s Day, the outstanding amount owed to the city was estimated at $225,000.

The glass façade building that emerged opened in November of 2020 with developer Salvatore N. Lupoli, Gov. Charlie Baker and other dignitaries on hand for the ceremonial ribbon cutting. It houses Northern Essex Community College’s Lupoli Family Culinary Arts Institute, a MassHire office operated by the college and 42 luxury apartments. It was also planned as the location for an Italian restaurant called “Bosa” and a rooftop bar called “Bosa Bar.”

The state’s Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance technically holds the college’s lease and received advance notice of the sale, according to Michael McCarthy, the college’s chief financial officer and chief operating officer.

“We confirmed there will be no impact on the terms of our lease, meaning there will be no impact on the NECC Lupoli Family Institute of Culinary Arts, which will continue to offer credit and noncredit culinary programs on the second and third floors of the building,” McCarthy said in a statement.

Besides 160 Merrimack St, the $25.7 million price tag appears to include 127-133 Merrimack St., a storefront building used as construction offices; 162 Merrimack St.; and 192-194 Merrimack, where Lupoli demolished a building that formerly housed Ocasio’s True Martial Arts and added surface parking.

There were two controversies over the years. The first, in 2018, when a state grant shortfall caused the scuttling of a two-level parking deck at 192 Merrimack. The second, in 2020, when then-Councilor Colin F. LePage said the developer missed two years of mortgage payments. A Lupoli spokesperson called the matter “a clerical error” and city Finance Director Charles Benevento said the city collects no other mortgage payments and hadn’t sent out a bill. Mayor James J. Fiorentini’s administration later proposed changes in the way the city’s sends invoices.

In early February, a spokesperson lobbying for Lupoli’s proposal to redevelop 4.5 acres of city land down the street, noted forthcoming changes to the Heights’ project, including more welcoming street frontage. It was also said the long awaited Bosa restaurant and 10th floor bar is under construction.

Lupoli has agreed to pay $1 million to purchase the Herbert H. Goecke Jr. Memorial Parking Deck and related parcels. The expanded plan calls for 370 residential units in five separate buildings, 51,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space and a 616-space parking garage.

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