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The River Works stop could be rebuilt to accommodate new residents and the public.
By THOMAS GRILLO
LYNN — The prospects of financing a new waterfront neighborhood improved late last week after the developer agreed to spend more than $1 million to expand the MBTA’s River Works Commuter Rail Station.
Charles Patsios, the Swampscott developer who is planning to transform the former General Electric Co. Gear Works property into a $500 million project that would include 1,160 apartments, has signed an agreement with the state to improve the modest station.
Under the terms of the deal, the River Works stop on the Newburyport/Rockport Line that is used only for GE workers, would be rebuilt to accommodate new residents and the public. It will be paid for by Patsios’ company, Lynnway Associates.
“Having the River Works station available for everyone makes this a truly transit-oriented development,” Patsios said. “Now, we can offer a 15-minute trip into Boston on the commuter rail and create a tremendous opportunity for people to discover Lynn at much less cost.”
In exchange for usage rights, the developer has agreed to build an accessible station in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and improve access to the platforms. In addition to paying for construction and the cost to maintain the new buildings, the developer has agreed to start a “Transportation Improvement Fund” with a $500,000 deposit. The proceeds will be used for transportation improvements in at River Works and developers of future projects will be asked to contribute.
State Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said the partnership with Patsios creates a win-win for growth and transportation.
“Economic growth can be achieved by improving the quantity and quality of transportation options,” said Pollack in a statement. “We are pleased at the developer’s commitment to paying for physical improvements at River Works Station. We look forward to seeing the changes that will be taking place as a result of the investment that are sure to include increased new interest in living in Lynn, as the city will have an important new asset in its new permanent commuter rail station.”
Patsios bought the 65-acre GE property in 2014 for $7.6 million. His team has been working to secure permits from the city’s Inspectional Services Department and the state to build the project on the Saugus River. The approvals and the T stop will make it more likely to get financing for the project, Patsios said. “Plenty of people are interested in lending the money for the project,” he said. “Once we have the permits in hand, coupled with the addition of the T stop, we’re a go.”
Thomas Grillo can be reached at email@example.com.