Local Government and Politics, News

Lynn’s former Porthole Restaurant could become luxury condos

(Courtesy rendering)

LYNN — A Lynn developer seeking to tear down the former Porthole Restaurant and transform the Lynnway site into luxury condominiums is planning for a fall groundbreaking on the $30 to $35 million project.

Patrick McGrath is planning on building 48 to 60 luxury condominiums at the 98 Lynnway site, which is dependent on a potential zoning change. He said the steel and concrete building, dubbed Harbor98, was designed so each condo would have views of Boston, the harbor and ocean.

The units would range from 800 to 2,600 square feet, and would be priced from $650 or $750 per square-foot, with the latter pricing for the 10 to 15 planned waterfront condos. A mix of one-, two-, or three-bedroom condos, and penthouse suites would sell for $520,000 to $1.95 million, according to McGrath.

“What’s unique about this project is they’re high end,” McGrath said. “(It would be) the first of its kind. There’s no other building like this on the North Shore.”

McGrath plans to seek a zoning change from the City Council to allow for him to build an eight-story building on the site. The property is currently zoned for five stories. He expects to appear before the council in August, but said it would have to be after the city’s updated Waterfront Master Plan is approved by the panel.

McGrath said he plans to pre-market the condos this week to gauge whether there’s a market for high-end condos in Lynn, which would determine whether he moves forward with the project.

But he believes there is. He’s already got about a dozen people interested and said the condos would be ideal for older people who don’t want to own and maintain a house. McGrath said he plans to live there as well.

In Boston, condos are priced at $2,700 per square foot, he said. Each unit would be allotted two parking spaces, with on-site pavement and garage parking.

The development, which is expected to be completed two years from the fall, is in the planning and design stage right now.

He’s in the midst of the Chapter 91 permitting process, the commonwealth’s primary tool to protect and promote public use of its waterways. But he said an existing boardwalk on site that is being expanded along the city’s coastline to the ferry terminal would offer public access. The walkway will be incorporated into the development’s planned 12,000 square foot park area facing the ocean.

McGrath bought the property in May 2018 for $1.4 million.

Today, there are few choices for waterfront condos in Lynn. Of the 44 units listed for sale on the MLS Property Information Network, only four are waterfront or offer water views.

At the low end, there’s a two-bedroom, one bath, pet-friendly first floor unit on Tudor Street with off-street parking for $299,000 or $265 per square foot.

On the high end is a four-room penthouse on Lynn Shore Drive that offers a balcony with direct oceanfront views, a laundry room, and deeded parking in an underground garage for $399,900 or $407 per square foot.

“Lynn’s coming alive and you’re going to do up over $1 million condos,” McGrath said.

Item reporter Thomas Grillo contributed to this report. 

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