(Additional photograph below.)
It was one of the first new buildings in Haverhill to take advantage of the new Interstate 495 highway during the early 1960s, but it’s going away.
Built as the Howard Johnson’s Motor Lodge on a relocated portion of Lowell Avenue, the now Best Western closes this month to make way for a modern hotel. In a statement, owner Giri Hotel Management said Best Western Merrimack Valley closes Oct. 23, for, what it called, “renovations.”
“The hotel will reopen under a new brand, with expanded in-room amenities and room types… The property will reopen in 2023,” according to the statement.
Haverhill Inspectional Service Director Richard MacDonald told WHAV Thursday, his department has been working with the company over the past two years as the plan developed.
“We have not seen a finalized plan. The owner has been very responsive working with us to get a final plan on a fast track,” MacDonald said.
MacDonald said the back section of the hotel is already closed and some storm drainage work has been undertaken. The front section still houses families that used the building under a government program. In fact, while WHAV was at the property, a school bus stopped to drop off a young student.
The short part of the L section of Lowell Avenue was built to give the now-amputated street a terminus, connecting with Route 110, River Street. On its west side, the new motel and its sister Howard Johnson’s Restaurant—both under orange roofs—were built. Across the street was the also-new Westgate Center strip shopping center. It featured Demoulas Supermarket, Grant’s Department Store, Robert Hall Clothes and other, smaller businesses.