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Plans for a $20 million mixed-use development in downtown Lynn are dead

The original rendering of the proposed Silsbee Street development in Lynn (Courtesy Photo)

LYNN — A $20 million development that was expected to transform Silsbee Street with a mix of apartments and a much-needed supermarket is dead, for now.   

The Marblehead development team’s permit to redevelop a dilapidated building has expired. The extension lapsed in July after the team failed to secure financing for the development, according to City Council President Darren Cyr.

“When they first came to us, I thought it was a great project,” said Cyr. “I think that neighborhood absolutely needs a grocery store down there and it would be part of the development that’s taking place in the downtown. It would have been tough for them to get another extension. I don’t know why they’ve been dragging their feet.” 

If partners Yuriy Blyakhman and Alex Zelfond of Illy LLC want to move forward with the project, they’ll have to reapply for a special permit and again seek approval from the council, Cyr said. 

For now, Blyakhman and Zelfond have opted to lease the property for a year to Dellbrook JKS, a contractor for Procopio Enterprises. They plan to use it as a storage yard and staging area for construction of a 10-story luxury apartment building on Munroe Street. The use was approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals last week. 

Initial plans were to demolish 50 Silsbee St., which has been vacant for years, and construct a six-story building with 115 market-rate apartments. It was also to house more than 21,000 square-feet of ground-floor commercial space for a supermarket with international food geared toward Russian and Eastern European customers. 

Blyakhman said his company is still planning to redevelop the property and has no intention to sell the building. Despite having similar grocery stores in Brookline, Newton, Allston and Framingham, Illy LLC may have soured on that commercial component in Lynn. He called it a business decision, but didn’t elaborate. 

“I am not 100 percent sure if I want to go forward with the store, but it will be a new, beautiful project,” Blyakhman said. “It’s going to look different. Definitely apartments and it’s not going to be modular (anymore)”

Blaykhman said they plan to start the redevelopment process, which includes applying for a new special permit, soon. Rather than trying to secure financing through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development again, which was unsuccessful, he instead intends to seek the necessary funding from banks. 

“If they came (before the council), they would have to show us that they were able to come up with the financing,” Cyr said. “Right now, we’re trying to bring as much revenue into the city by tax-based projects. If it’s delayed, we want to work with them and we want to help them, but at the same time, if (their) pockets aren’t deep enough and they don’t have the resources, they should partner with someone or sell it.” 

Illy, LLC purchased the Silsbee Street property from Vlahos Brothers Inc., in 2013 for $380,000. The property is assessed at $473,900 and the warehouse-style building was built in 1950, according to land records.

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