Haverhill has chosen Procopio Companies of Lynnfield, to develop the former Ornsteen Heel property near the Bradford commuter rail station.
Of three contenders to buy the city-owned land, Procopio originally proposed the most housing units—320 market rate apartments—and at one time offered the highest bid, $2 million. However, Mayor James J. Fiorentini said today the project was whittled down at the city’s request to 290 units and a payment of $1 million.
“It is easily the best proposal,” Fiorentini told WHAV. He said the $2 million bid was never a realistic purchase price since the developer proposed the city buy back the park area for $1.5 million.
During a live interview with Win Damon on WHAV this morning, Fiorentini gave a preview of the designation of Procopio as “preferred developer” without identifying the firm by name. The 4.8-acre property is at 31-35 Railroad Ave., next to Skateland and opposite downtown on the other side of the river. Fiorentini plans to ask the City Council Tuesday night to support his plan to enter into “a public-private partnership to build an upscale housing and retail development with a large public park along the Merrimack River in Bradford.”
“This development is going to enhance the city’s image and create employment and housing opportunities for local residents,” Fiorentini said in a statement today. He noted that details of the proposal were developed following the recommendations and goals of the city’s new Master Plan, specifically to encourage new housing close to commuter rail.
The development is projected to generate $19.2 million for city coffers over the first 20 years, including the $1 million purchase price, $900,000 in permit fees and $17.3 million in property taxes over that period.
Procopio, which says it already has purchase and sale agreements on adjacent properties, originally proposed two four-story buildings and one six-story building, each with 100 apartments. The developer breaks out unit type in percentages, saying 5% will be studios; 55%, one-bedroom; 35%, two-bedrooms; and [READ MORE]