Neighbors of Joseph’s Trattoria restaurant in Ward Hill received a briefing this week on plans to demolish a mostly vacant industrial building, two single-family homes and the restaurant and build 230 housing units, a restaurant and retail space on the site off Route 125.
As only WHAV reported near the end of 2020, Tuscan Village Developer Joseph Faro hinted at building housing with Joseph’s Trattoria restaurant at the center of a “village,” as encouraged by the Haverhill’s new master plan. Faro, who founded Joseph’s Gourmet Pastas and Sauces in Haverhill, spoke in favor of zoning changes approved by the Haverhill City Council at the time. Plans, for what is being called “Oxford Crossing,” include constructing a six-story residential building with 230 units, 3,000 square feet of retail, a 1,200 square foot bakery and a 200-seat restaurant. A handout given to neighbors describes the project.
“…Given the site’s rich history of entrepreneurship, Oxford Crossing offers the opportunity to create one of Haverhill’s first mixed-use development(s) with a village concept feel, including the walkability of the project from the surrounding neighborhoods, provision of landscaping, the provision of retail and restaurant uses that benefit not only the residential tenants on the property, but also residents in the surrounding neighborhoods and beyond.”
Faro’s sister Deanna (Faro) Gaiero, owner of Joseph’s Trattoria is a co-developer.
Another page of the project package describes the lots’ role in the city’s industrial history, reading, “From a shoe factory to a pasta factory and restaurant/bakery, 145 Oxford Ave. has played host to a number of iconic Merrimack Valley businesses in the City of Haverhill.”
Monday night’s meeting came a day before Haverhill city councilors scheduled public hearings for Tuesday, Oct. 18, for the project and proposed closing of a portion of Oxford Avenue.
Councilors have repeatedly expressed concerns over traffic congestion and safety along the stretch of Route 125 between Ward Hill and North Andover. A more than 300-page Traffic Impact and Access Study prepared by TEC of Lawrence suggests traffic mitigation measures.
“The project proposes to significantly modify the traffic circulation in the area. Oxford Avenue between Knipe Road (Route 125) and Cross Road will be eliminated. The site’s main driveway will provide full access/egress to Knipe Road at the former location of Oxford Avenue. The site will also provide two additional full access/egress driveways along Cross Road by way of a new driveway north of Oxford Avenue, and Oxford Avenue access/egress where it will be eliminated to be the Siter Driveway/Cross Road intersection,” the analysis reads.