Kennedy 'hopeful' of possible waterfront development deal

June 25,, 2013
By Chris Stevens/The Daily Item

In a speech to the Mass Senior Action Council, Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy said she is hopeful about a commercial development deal in the works that would bring something to Lynn that is sorely lacking but city officials are mum on the details.

“I can’t speak about it but I’m hopeful,” she said.

City officials have been hopeful for about three years regarding the development of the waterfront area. Moving the power lines in 2010 was supposed to clear a path for developers but few have yet to take the journey.

Economic Development and Industrial Corporation Executive Director James Cowdell told his Board of Directors last week that he too is excited about a possible development deal but declined to comment further. The announcement, however, gave rise to a brief discussion regarding waterfront development in Salem and Revere and why those cities appear to be succeeding where Lynn is not. Salem has made strides with its waterfront plan and Revere Mayor Daniel Rizzo announced earlier this month that his city would break ground on an apartment complex as well as a hotel just off Revere Beach Boulevard and behind the Wonderland train station.

EDIC Board Chairman Charles Gaeta said he thought Lynn was doing just fine. Gaeta said he thought Revere and Salem had a head start on development plans nor did they face the obstacles, such as the power lines and the need to streamline permitting, that Lynn faced.

“I feel really good about it,” Gaeta said. “I think we’re in a good position.”

The business community has become a good partner with EDIC and city officials, which shows that everyone is working together, he added.

“EDIC is really supporting initiatives put forth by the City Council and the mayor,” Gaeta said.

But he also pointed out that there is only so much the city can do. The 100-acre swath that makes up the waterfront is privately owned by a number of different developers.

“We don’t own the land,” he said.

Cowdell said concerns that Lynn is lagging are unfounded.

“The waterfront is something my office works on everyday,” he said.

EDIC has invested $6 million in the commuter ferry project that is steadily moving forward, he said.

Although he did admit that large landowners are waiting to see what happens with Suffolk Downs and the casino. Suffolk Downs Chief Operating Officer Chip Tuttle has unveiled plans to build a casino at the race track but he is still negotiating mitigation plans with abutters, Boston and Revere.

Las Vegas developer Steve Wynn got a jump on Tuttle Saturday when Everett residents overwhelmingly endorsed his plan for a $1.2 billion casino at the ballot box.

Gaeta said he believes the waterfront is bigger than just Suffolk Downs. He sees the redevelopment of the waterfront as tied to the redevelopment of the downtown and Sagamore Hill area as well, and he is confident it will all come to fruition.

“There is going to be a real sharp message on the redevelopment of the waterfront soon,” he said.

Kennedy said the new project, which she called “a complex international deal,” should receive a thumbs up or a thumbs done by those involved by Sept. 13.

“It is something Lynn hasn’t had for years that would be a tremendous asset to the city … I’m hopeful,” she said.

Thor Jourgensen contributed to this story. Chris Stevens can be reached at



Back to News