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A developing waterfront in Lynn: five projects are in the works on the Lynnway

LYNN — The city is updating its Waterfront Master Plan, and several developments are already planned for the Lynnway. 

The projects will feature waterfront apartments and condominiums, public access, mixed-use buildings, retail and possibly a hotel. 

“All of the planning is now bearing fruit as the development community has discovered Lynn’s waterfront,” said James Cowdell, Economic Development & Industrial Corporation of Lynn executive director. 

Groundbreaking for two of those planned waterfront developments on the Lynnway are expected in the next several months, while other sites could be years away from being transformed into new, higher uses. 

98 Lynnway, Harbor98
Developer Patrick McGrath plans to transform the former Porthole Restaurant into 48 to 60 luxury condominiums. 

McGrath plans to demolish the former restaurant building and break ground on constructruction of the new steel and concrete building, dubbed Harbor98, this fall. 

Construction is expected to be completed in the fall of 2021 on the $30 to $35 million project, which was designed so each condo would have views of Boston, the harbor and the ocean. 

He’s seeking zoning relief from the City Council. McGrath will request a change to allow him to build an eight-story building on the site. The property is currently zoned for five stories. He expects to appear before the panel in August. 

Units would range from 800 to 2,600 square feet. The mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom condos, and penthouse suites, which will include 10 to 15 waterfront units, would sell for $520,000 to $1.95 million.

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

254 Lynnway, North Harbor 

Developer Minco Corporation is planning to transform the long-vacant former Beacon Chevrolet site, dubbed North Harbor, into 332 market-rate apartments in multiple buildings. 

A groundbreaking is expected later this summer on the $90 million redevelopment, which will transform a 14-acre site across from North Shore Community College on the Carroll Parkway that has been vacant for three decades. 

Multiple residential buildings will offer Boston skyline and water views, and the site will feature a publicly accessible harbor walk connection along the city’s coastline, which the North Andover-based development team plans to connect from the Lynn Heritage State Park to the Clocktower Business Center on the Lynnway. 

The site includes a new $1.4 million seawall, the first stage of a development expected to be completed in the summer of 2021. 

Minco has been eyeing redeveloping the site since 2013, but the project has been repeatedly delayed by two major factors, which has included navigating through Chapter 91 licensing, the commonwealth’s primary tool to protect and promote public use of its waterways, and completing a land swap involving a state easement. 

626 Lynnway, former Garelick Farms 

A Boston real estate firm has a vision for the former Garelick Farms site, but future redevelopment is dependent on the city approving its requested zoning changes for the property.

A.W. Perry wants to transform the 17-acre site into a mixed-use development with waterfront apartments, retail and possibly a hotel. But that vision is three to seven years away, said the company’s executive vice president, Robert Maloney. 

Maloney said their intention is to begin leasing out the property this fall to a variety of tenants, which would include those seeking to use it for light industry. 

But both their desired short-term uses and long-term vision, along with the firm closing on the property, is dependent upon approval of their requested zoning relief. The company has a purchase and sale agreement on the property and is aiming to close on the deal this fall. 

A.W. Perry hopes its final draft of requested zoning changes will be presented to the City Council next week, with a potential vote in August. But that process could be pushed back a month if a draft isn’t finalized ahead of the meeting, according to Maloney. 

The development team is working with the city on changes to allow for an abundance of new uses at the site, which is currently zoned for dairy manufacturing only. A first draft showed the firm was seeking to allow for light manufacturing, hotels, an apartment house, assisted living facility and fitness center. 

But it was the other proposed uses several city officials found undesirable, in terms of not aligning with the city’s vision for the waterfront, which included a contractor’s storage yard, warehouse used for storage, ambulance service, motor vehicle storage yard, a parking lot for automobiles and commercial vehicles, and truck repair facility. 

Other challenges include the site being located next to the city’s wastewater treatment plant and transfer station. Maloney said they plan to work with the city to clean up those uses. 

“We just think in the long run, it’s going to be a great place to be,” said Maloney. “We’re excited about it. We share the city’s vision about how they’d like the Lynnway to be redeveloped.”  

810 Lynnway, Lynnway Mart Indoor Mall & Flea Market

McGrath, owner of the Lynnway Mart Indoor Mall & Flea Market, has a long-term plan for the property. 

The developer plans to demolish the indoor mall and replace it with 550 market-rate apartments, but insists those plans are “years away.” 

City officials said the $350 million project is in the permitting stage and it has already received approval from the Conservation Commission. 

The four, seven-story apartment buildings on the 8.4-acre site will feature a mix of one- and two-bedroom, and studio apartments. The development will also include 10,000 feet of commercial space and will require public access near the water.

McGrath said last year that he doesn’t plan to put the property up for sale until it’s fully permitted, or there’s still the possibility he might develop it himself. 

843 Lynnway, former General Electric Co. Gear Works

Developer Charles Patsios is seeking to transform the former General Electric Co. Gear Works property into a new transit-oriented neighborhood, a $500 million project that he said has been permitted. 

The redevelopment will feature eight buildings on a 65-acre site off the Lynnway with a walkway to the River Works MBTA commuter rail station. It will include 1,262 apartments, boutique retail, restaurants, a gym and new roads within walking distance to bike trails, beaches and the T. 

Patsios has reached an agreement with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to expand the use of the nearby T stop at the GE plant on Western Avenue. Today, the train only stops at the factory on the Newburyport/Rockport line for all employees. But the agreement will expand the station to include all commuters, including new residents in the planned neighborhood. 

The timeline on the project is uncertain, but Patsios said he’s “ready to go” on construction once the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) approves final design of the train station, a process that has delayed the project for about a year and a half. 

“We have a transit-oriented development,” said Patsios. “We can’t open without a train station being there first. The ball is squarely in the MBTA’s court. It is not us. It is the MBTA.” 

 

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