Developer Agrees to Create Condo Association After Haverhill Council Cries Foul Over Rental Plans

Flagpole, as seen in 2018, when it served the former Grondin-Carnevale Funeral Home, 129 Kenoza Ave., Haverhill. (WHAV News file photograph.)

The Haverhill City Council Tuesday accused the developer of a seven-unit condominium complex on Kenoza Avenue of not living up to an agreement to build owner-occupied homes.

On Tuesday, Robert Christy, a principal with Gardens on Kenoza Corporation, revealed the new developer plans to rent units in a former funeral home rather than sell them as condominium units as agreed nearly two years ago. Christy came before councilors in search of approval of landscaping designs at the former Grondin-Carnevale Funeral Home at 125-129 Kenoza St. Lawyer Gordon Glass explained the change of plans.

“(The) plan going forward right now for the ownership structure for the units is, for the next few years, Gardens on Kenoza does intend to be a landlord of that property and to rent out the units to residential rental tenants. At that time, they would convert the units to owner-occupied condominium housing and sell of those units to new owners,” he said.

Gardens on Kenoza took over the project from Mazraany Construction Company of Salem, N.H. in Sept. 2021. The change of plans did not sit well with councilors, including Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan.

“When this project came before us, this was an exciting project because it was going to increase homeownership opportunities in that area. That’s why we supported this project. To find out that a new developer came along after the original applicant got approval for seven condominium units, and now the new guy comes along, and he doesn’t want to do that anymore. Well, that’s not our problem,” he said.

Sullivan added, in order to receive occupancy permits for the building, the terms of the original agreement must be met even if the condominiums are all owned by the developer.

Ultimately, both sides agreed the units would be declared as condominiums before occupancy permits would be issued and the Council approved the proposal by a unanimous 9-0 vote.

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