EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

April 1, 2012

Group eyes possible $60M project in Haverhill

But nobody knows where it will be built

HAVERHILL — Local lawyer Paul Magliocchetti said he was recently contacted by a Manhattan investment group interested in bringing a major development project to the downtown that could be worth up to $60 million.

He says the project to build a performing arts center along with retail shops and restaurants would be so massive that it could revitalize an entire section of the city.

Magliocchetti, who said he was hired by the investment group to represent them, would not say what part of the downtown is being eyed for the project. Magliocchetti is also a member of the School Committee.

Mayor James Fiorentini's chief of staff, David Van Dam, said the group has its eye on several possible locations in Haverhill, including in the downtown area as well as outside of the downtown area.

He said the locations the group mentioned during a meeting with the mayor did not include the former old Haverhill Paperboard Company, which was located on a 23-acre site along the Bradford side of the Merrimack River. He the group was not interested in the Woolworth building on Merrimack Street either.

"At our meeting those two locations were not identified," Van Dam said.

The investment group is concerned about the MBTA's plans to hike fares or cuts to weekend services.

The MBTA has held 25 meetings in the state in recent weeks to get feedback on proposals to bridge the transportation agency's $159 million deficit. The first of six public hearings was held March 5 at the Consentino Middle School, where Magliocchetti talked about the proposed project and how it would be affected by cuts in service by the MBTA.

Magliocchetti said the project being proposed for Haverhill would have a significant economic impact on the city, bringing hundreds of construction jobs initially, then hundreds of permanent jobs.

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