Public improvements—including a plaza, roadway, sidewalk and streetscape work—surrounding downtown Haverhill’s biggest redevelopment yet got a boost last week with the state awarding the city a $4 million grant.
Gov. Maura Healey, Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll, Secretary of Economic Development Yvonne Hao and Secretary of Housing and Livable Communities Ed Augustus formally awarded the grant during a stop last week at Suffolk Downs in Revere.
“Funding supports infrastructure repairs, upgrades and enhancements to support a $175 million redevelopment in downtown Haverhill that will transform the failed Urban Renewal District and (Herbert H.) Goecke Municipal Parking Deck into a vibrant public plaza and mixed-use development,” the governor’s office said.
The project includes the demolition and relocation of Pentucket Bank’s main branch; full repaving of Merrimack Street, including new granite curbing, replacement of catch basins, street lighting and utilities; new landscaping and crosswalks with flashing beacons for pedestrian safety to access the boardwalk, Harbor Place and the rest of downtown; new 20,000-square-foot outdoor public plaza for community events, Farmers Market and public recreation; drainage upgrades to reduce the risk from future storms and flooding; and new retaining walls to support the topographical changes for the new Merrimack Street public garage.
Mayor James J. Fiorentini said Monday the latest grant is “paving the way for the largest redevelopment project in city history.” The mayor’s office said the state grant will pay for rebuilding 855 linear feet of roads and sidewalks on Merrimack Street.
It is the third state MassWorks grant in two years for downtown redevelopment. In 2021, the city was awarded $750,000 state MassWorks grant to design a new and larger Merrimack Street garage. Since then, developer Salvatore N. Lupoli was awarded the rights to buy the garage and adjacent Merrimack Street parcels for $1 million for a proposed mixed residential and commercial development. Last November, the state awarded a $6.5 million state MassWorks grant to “help pay for” the planned 810-space parking garage.
The project includes replacing the Goecke deck and building 51,000 square feet of mixed-use space that is to include apartments, amenities for tenants, an open-air food court, retail and commercial space and a variety of outdoor public spaces including an ice-skating rink. Demolition is set to take place around the end of the year.