Pentucket Bank and developer Salvatore N. Lupoli confirmed Friday the bank’s headquarters branch in downtown Haverhill will be merged into a sprawling, five-acre downtown redevelopment called “District Square.”
Pentucket Bank and the Lupoli Companies said they entered into a formal purchase agreement in late March for the transfer of the bank’s property at One Merrimack St. with the understanding the bank’s existing retail branch will be relocated into the new master plan.
“We’re selling our headquarters branch into the project. It’s going to get demolished and it’s going to get rebuilt. But, we will always be here on the corner of Main and Merrimack even in a temporary way. We’re not ready to say exactly what that is it yet, but even through the construction, we’ll have a presence here—a branch presence,” said Pentucket Bank President and CEO Jonathan H. Dowst.
Dowst detailed the bank’s interest Friday. “We didn’t want this project to happen around us. We wanted to be in the middle of it and so the conversations and negotiations with Sal, right from the beginning, have been very positive. It’s been our intention to be part of the project, improve the project,” he explained.
The new branch will continue to have drive-up and ATM accessibility. The current building was built 40 years ago by Crysen Limited Partnership of Maryland. It includes an operations center and several administrative offices. Crysen also developed the nearby Pentucket Medical Building, which will remain.
The plan has been in the works since 2021 when WHAV first reported the bank offered to work with any developer bidding on the adjacent, city-owned parcels that include the Herbert H. Goecke Jr. Memorial Parking Deck. The transfer of the bank’s building aided in Lupoli Companies’ final design of its comprehensive master plan for the downtown corridor that will incorporate public space and pedestrian access to the waterfront, while alleviating traffic at the intersection of Merrimack and Main Streets. Lupoli laid out his vision.
“Just imagine, this crumbling garage that certain sections are probably roped off that we don’t want you to be on there, imagine that coming down with a brand new garage going up, hundreds of new apartments, retail application. It’s really going to improve downtown. We’re excited about that. We wouldn’t be here without the great help of the mayor, and certainly Jon (Dowst) and Pentucket Bank was instrumental in this program,” Lupoli said.
The new parking garage will be adjacent to the new bank branch, offering parking for bank customers and visitors. Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini put the now more than $160 million project into a larger perspective, saying, “This is the biggest and best project ever to come to the City of Haverhill and it completely dwarfs everything else that has been done downtown,” Fiorentini said.
A property down the street and across from Lupoli’s Haverhill Heights building served as construction offices for that project. Asked about its future, Lupoli said it will be part of yet another stage of downtown’s evolution.
“We’re always looking for opportunities to improve the landscape and that’s part of the conversation we’ve been having about how do we redevelop it, how does it get tied in with some of the real estate across the street? Are there other opportunities to incorporate within that footprint? So, we are looking into it?” Lupoli told WHAV.
The city is in the process of gathering bids for the public portions of the project which is scheduled to begin with the demolition of the old parking deck later this year.