Gateway Residences on Washington

Construction continues to build in Lynn

ITEM PHOTO
New construction is seen on Liberty Street in Lynn.

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN — Towering construction cranes may not be on every corner of the city, but for the third straight year the number of building permits in Lynn has soared.

Builders have pulled 5,916 construction permits in 2016, up from 5,200 last year, a nearly 14 percent rise, according to the city’s Inspectional Services Department.

The mini-boom has added a whopping $873,576 to the city’s coffers in fees. That’s up from $775,619 last year, a 12.6 percent hike and nearly double the amount collected a decade ago when the city began tracking the data.

Lynn has seen an steady rise in building permits per year since 2006, and a nearly 14 percent rise in the last year alone.City of Lynn

Lynn has seen an upward trend in building permits per year since 2006, and a nearly 14 percent rise in the last year alone.

“We’re seeing lots of residential construction going on, including homes, condominiums and renovations,” said William DeIulis, a project manager at DeIulis Brothers Construction Co. The Lynn-based firm is completing work on a $21 million expansion to the North Shore Community College.

Lynn’s numbers are in stark contrast to what’s happening in Boston, Eastern Massachusetts and the state as a whole.

In the Hub, the number of permits fell by 29 percent and statewide permitting slipped by 35 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

In its most recent housing survey, the Boston Foundation said the number of permits for new housing units issued in Eastern Massachusetts is expected to fall by nearly 20 percent this year, the first decline since the construction boom began in 2011.

In Boston, where more than $5 billion worth of new apartments have gone up in the downtown over the last four years, construction of high-priced apartments is finally leveling off.

Clint Muche, Lynn’s deputy building commissioner was careful to say that the number of permits does not equate with the total housing units built this year. The city does not have data on how many apartments or condominiums were added.

He attributed the rise in permits to a combination of new apartments and the renovation of existing housing, as well as the number of homes that are adding solar panels.

“There’s not a massive rise in new construction,” Muche said. “Most of the activity is renovations to existing structures.”

Still, the former Beacon Chevrolet site received a foundation permit for construction of 355 apartments on a 9-acre site on the Lynnway, two projects on Fairmount Avenue were greenlighted for 100 units and the Gateway Residences on Washington will feature 71 units of mixed-income housing on a formerly vacant 2.5-acre parcel near the downtown.

Nicholas Meninno, owner of Meninno Construction, whose Lynn firm lays the groundwork for larger commercial projects, said there’s a buzz about the city.

“In addition to one of the biggest projects going up at Market Basket, there are lots of residential projects citywide,” he said. “Developers are discovering Lynn and what it has to offer.”

Waterfront development backed up by questions


Thomas Grillo can be reached at tgrillo@itemlive.com.

Governor opens Gateway to Lynn

PHOTO BY PAULA MULLER
Governor Charlie Baker announces a $100 Million MassHousing fund for the creation of workforce housing.

By GAYLA CAWLEY

LYNN — The Gateway Residences on Washington will be the first housing development to benefit from a $100 million fund to create workforce housing.

Gov. Charlie Baker told a crowd Wednesday across the street from the vacant 2.5-acre parcel that the project will use a portion of the money.

The 71-unit mixed-income housing complex on lower Washington Street will receive financing for 10 units, reserved as workforce housing – tenants who are overqualified for affordable housing yet can’t afford market rate dwellings.

“I’m very excited to be able to kick it off in Lynn,” Baker said.

The project will also receive additional funding from the Department of Housing and Community Development for low-income units.   

Under the statewide initiative, 1,000 new units of affordable housing for middle income households would be created. Up to $100,000 in subsidies will be provided for each unit. New construction or refinancing of an existing housing community would qualify for creation of the units.

To do this, the Baker administration is working with MassHousing, a quasi-public agency charged with providing affordable housing in the state.

Tim Sullivan, MassHousing’s executive director, said the initiative protects working families.

“Many middle-income families simply cannot afford market rate housing,” he said.

Those families feel the pain of annual rent increases, which have increased as much as 13 percent since 2010, Sullivan added. He said the infusion of cash is changing the way housing is looked at.

“The program is to help middle income people who are being squeezed out of the housing market,” said Michael Dirrane, MassHousing’s board chairman.

Peggy Phelps, director of planning and development for Lynn Housing Authority & Neighborhood Development, said being the first recipient of the fund is evidence that Lynn is being recognized for its efforts to create more affordable units.

“It’s going to be a really great mixed income building,” she said.

Gateway Residences will feature a five-story, wood-frame building with 18 one-bedroom units, 46 two-bedrooms and seven three-bedrooms. Eight units will market-rate. The project also will contain a common room, fitness center, laundry rooms and other common tenant spaces.

Construction is set to begin on Gateway this summer and tenants are expected to move in by the end of 2017.


Gayla Cawley can be reached at gcawley@itemlive.com. Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley