Work to resume on Lynn lofts


June 06, 2014
By Chris Stevens/The Daily Item

Nearly three years after it first announced plans to turn 33 Central St. into loft apartments, the Economic Development and Industrial Corporation is ready to begin work.

“It’s been a long haul,” admitted EDIC Executive Director James Cowdell.

EDIC hit some snags in its plan to renovate the old Arnold Stationery building, starting with a serious roof leak that resulted in destroying the main floor of the building as well as causing some significant damage to walls and ceilings.

Then, in September 2013, the $1 million price tag to renovate the building doubled. EDIC bought the building for $140,000 and has since gutted it, but work stalled when the renovation cost soared. Cowdell said they have since worked out a new design for the building and reduced the cost.

“The original architect had a lot of steel exposed on the front of the building,” he said. “We were able to come up with a new plan that kept the integrity of the building but reduced the cost.”

EDIC is working in partnership with Neighborhood Development Associates (NDA) to redevelop the building, which has stood empty for years. The plan is exactly the same as it was in 2012, to create eight residential units targeted for artists on the upper floors and commercial space that ties into the Arts and Cultural District on the ground floor.

“We will turn it into a beautiful building in the middle of the Arts and Cultural District,” Cowdell said. “This building will have a positive impact on the entire area.”

Cowdell said the rehab work is expected to begin in the next two weeks and be completed in 10 months to a year. He is confident that this plan will pan out. With NDA’s track record for redeveloping problem properties and converting them into desirable residences, there is great potential for 33 Central, he said.

Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy praised EDIC for investing in the Central Business District and transforming an eyesore into a home for artists.

“It ties in nicely to the expansion that RAW Arts is doing next door,” she said. “This is great news for residents and business owners in the area.”

Emily Ruddock, the city’s new director of the Arts and Cultural District, said the project is also good news for local artists looking for affordable space to live and work in.

“Having eight artists living and working in a building that has been abandoned for years will be a welcome addition,” she said. “We will be working closely with EDIC in selecting a tenant for the first floor that attract people into our district.”



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