Gearing Up Plan for the Lynnway


February 15, 2017
By Bill Brotherton/The Daily Item


One of the last hurdles to win approval for a $500 million development designed to transform a desolate section of the Lynnway is scheduled for next week.

Engineers for Swampscott developer Charles Patsios will present plans for the 65-acre former General Electric Co. Gear Works property to the Lynn Conservation Commission  Tuesday night. The six-member panel’s mission is to protect wetlands and water resources.

The developer is seeking approval for the project to be built on the Saugus River. The commission can regulate or prohibit activities that may alter waterways.

When completed, the complex is expected to feature a 1,260-unit apartment tower, boutique retail, restaurants, a gym and new roads within walking distance to bike trails, beaches and the MBTA.

Michael Toomey, a commission member, said the group will review their plans and if the members have any questions, they will be raised at that meeting.

“At some point, we will most likely issue an order that lays down the conditions we expect them to follow to protect the waterway and comply with the state wetlands laws and local bylaws,” he said.

Patsios said he is not worried about satisfying the commission.

“There are no issues that I’m aware of,” he said. “It’s a matter of crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s. I don’t see any problems or obstacles.”

He said his team recently reached a milestone deal with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to expand the use of the nearby MBTA River Works Station at the GE plant on Western Avenue. Today, the T only stops at the factory on the Newburyport/Rockport Line for GE employees. But under an agreement in the works with MassDOT, the station would be expanded for all commuters, including the new residents at the Patsios project.

“We have a tentative agreement and MassDOT is working on the documents,” he said.  

Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack could not immediately be reached for comment.

Patsios paid $7.6 million in 2014 to purchase the parcel from GE and has been working to win approval from a variety of city and state agencies ever since.

Of the three major projects in the works on the Lynnway, the Patsios project is the grandest and the priciest and could be a game changer for the city. It has the potential to unlock billions in gleaming residential and commercial real estate projects and transform the Lynnway.

Joseph O’Donnell, founder of Boston Culinary Group and Belmont Capital in Cambridge, is developing a 17-acre site for a $69 million luxury apartment project across the Lynnway that would include 250 units in a three-story building. At the other end of the Lynnway,  Louis Minicucci Jr. and Arthur Pappathanasi are working to turn the vacant Beacon Chevrolet site into an $80 million oceanfront apartment community. If approved, the project will include 348 apartments in two buildings across from North Shore Community College.

“As soon as we have all the approvals in place from the Conservation Commission, the city’s Inspectional Services Department and the state, we will then get to the financing,” Patsios said.

Thomas Grillo can be reached at

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