Vargas Economic Development Amendment Earmarks $8 Million for Downtown Haverhill

Rendering of revised proposal by the Lupoli Companies for Merrimack Street in Haverhill.

Downtown Haverhill will be the beneficiary of $8 million in state economic development aid if the state House of Representatives has its way.

The House agreed Thursday afternoon to include the Haverhill amendment, proposed by Rep. Andy X. Vargas, as part of more than $85 million for local economic development and infrastructure projects. It is part of a $3.8 billion economic development bill which still must be approved by the Senate and Gov. Charlie Baker.

Vargas, who serves as vice chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, told WHAV News shortly after the vote the money leverages Salvatore N. Lupoli’s planned $160 million investment.

“This is the largest earmark for Haverhill that we’ve secured for Haverhill during my time in the House. I’m incredibly grateful for the impact this will have in transforming Merrimack Street, downtown,” Vargas said.

The $8 million was set aside for the “Downtown Merrimack Street Redevelopment Project” and covers public costs surrounding Lupoli Companies’ project on a 4.5-acre parcel that includes the existing Herbert H. Goecke Jr. Memorial Parking Deck. Lupoli was selected as developer by the city and will build 370 residential units in five separate buildings, 51,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space and a 616-space replacement parking garage.

Vargas said there’s more for Haverhill in the economic development bill.

“The City of Haverhill will also receive $300,000 for local economic development recovery efforts. We know that these investments leverage private investment and help us ensure that Haverhill’s best days are still ahead,” he said.

Vargas explained the additional amount is “flexible” and for the city to decide how to best spend it.

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