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An $80 million, 189-unit luxury apartment building is coming to downtown Lynn

An artist rendering of a 10-story luxury apartment building to be built on Munroe Street in the downtown. (Rendering courtesy of DMS Design)

LYNN — Six months after plans to build a charter school in the downtown were dropped, a developer has proposed a 10-story luxury apartment building on the site.

Procopio Enterprises Inc., a family-owned construction company in Saugus, has agreed to purchase the former parking lot on Munroe Street that has been used as a community garden for more than a decade.

The $80 million project will feature 189 apartments priced in the mid $2,000s per month, an underground garage, a 6,000-square-foot roof deck with ocean and Boston skyline views, and 15,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space on the first floor on Oxford and Munroe streets.

“This a pivotal time in Lynn, we see the city positioned for growth and want to be part of it,” said Michael Procopio, co-owner. “Lynn is positioned where Somerville, Everett, Chelsea and Medford were 15 years ago. We could invest anywhere, but we are seeking out these Lynn sites because we see opportunity.”

Construction is expected to start this fall with a completion date of 2020. Procopio can build the market-rate project by right and will not require a special permit.

“It is extremely exciting to have this major mixed-use development opportunity proposed in the center of our downtown,” said Mayor Thomas M. McGee in a statement. “This is a strong indication that Lynn is on its way to living up to its full potential. With the support of the community, I look forward to the project becoming a reality.”

Procopio has an agreement to purchase the 30,000-square-foot parcel for an undisclosed price. Assessed at $216,700, the parcel is owned by Munroe Partners LLC, operated by Gordon Hall, president of The Hall Co., and a Daily Item director. Munroe Partners purchased the lot in 2010 for $650,000.

In a meeting with city officials on Tuesday, Procopio asked for tax incentives for the project, according to City Council President Darren Cyr.

Procopio confirmed he is seeking incentives from the state’s Housing Development Incentive Program. The initiative  provides a local-option real estate tax exemption on the increased property value resulting from improvements to the property.

Under the program, developers may apply to the state Department of Housing and Community Development for up to $2 million in credits for the market rate units to offset the cost of high rise construction. City Council approval is required.

The Z-shaped building would also include 30,000 square feet of amenities, including a fitness center, golf simulator, theater space and 24-hour concierge.

It will feature 108 one-bedroom units, ranging from 660-800 square feet; 45 one-bedroom units with a den, from 895-1,250 square feet; and 36 two-bedroom units measuring 1,080-1,180 square feet.

Procopio said the development hopes to attract young professionals priced out of the Boston market in Boston, where comparable units are renting for $4,000 on average and up to $5,500 in the Seaport District.

James Cowdell, executive director of the Economic Development Industrial Corp., the city’s development bank, said the project complies with existing zoning laws and would not need a special permit.

“The fact that downtown Lynn was targeted for this type of development is meaningful,” said Cowdell in a statement. He estimated that the property will yield more than $1 million in taxes annually, once completed. “It sends a message that the downtown and the Arts & Cultural District are very much trending upward. We look forward to working with the developer to make the project a reality.”

Hazel Kiefer, the urban agriculture manager at the Food Project, which manages the garden, said the space will be missed. But she praised Hall for his generous contribution over many years.

“We rely on people to give us land to grow and we are really grateful to have had it for as long as we have,” she said. “We never had to pay rent and he (Hall) has been very good to us.”

For fans of the 1,708-square-foot mural on the wall of the adjacent building on Munroe Street, there’s nothing to worry about, Procopio said.

“The mural will not be lost,” he said. “We are keeping that end of the building open so you can still see the mural from the street.”

FONKi, the Montreal artist who spent two weeks as part of the Beyond Walls Mural Festival last year, created the work of art, which depicts a woman draped in a white sheet.

Procopio has done several projects in Lynn including Ironwood, 100 apartments on Fairmont Avenue, and Needhams Landing, 42 units on Needhams Landing Road.

“Tenants are being priced out of Somerville, Chelsea, Everett and Medford, there’s no other place to go besides Lynn if you are going north,” he said. “We are 10 minutes to Logan Airport and across the street from the MBTA.”

Last year, Munroe Partners had a deal to sell the parcel to KIPP Massachusetts for construction of a high school. But City Councilors Dianna Chakoutis and Peter Capano argued Munroe Street is the wrong place for their proposed $20 million school and the project was withdrawn.

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