Lynn's EDIC sets sights on future

August 5, 2010
By David Liscio/The Daily Item

For the past five years, the city's key development funding agency has concentrated its efforts on the waterfront.

With the multi-million dollar electrical transmission tower relocation nearing completion along the Lynnway, the Lynn Economic Development and Industrial Corp. (EDIC) is looking toward the next five years.

The EDIC is requesting proposals from consulting firms to draft a new five-year plan focused on the downtown.

"Having a five-year plan is good business practice. It helps us ensure that the EDIC Board of Directors and members of the staff are all on the same page," EDIC Executive Director James Cowdell said Tuesday. "We have spent a heavy majority of our resources on the power lines being moved and on preparations that will make that area ready for development. With that coming to an end, we're looking at the next phase and where we will spend our budget."

The Anthony’s Hawthorne building in Lynn’s Central Square as seen on Wednesday. Item Photo / Reba M. Saldanha

According to Cowdell, the latest plan will emphasize the needs of the business district and downtown residences but also includes some provisions for the waterfront, such as a continuation of efforts to locate a commuter ferry.

"One of the questions is how to attract 250 new residents into the downtown. We have 250 now but our goal was always 500," he said. "We need to determine what role EDIC will play in that effort."
Two other aspects of the plan are the future of the former school administration building at 14 Central Ave. and the adjacent dilapidated building that once housed the landmark Anthony's Hawthorne restaurant.

"Once we hire a consultant, they will interview all the key stakeholders, the downtown business owners and the residents," Cowdell said.

As for the waterfront, the electrical lines should be rerouted by mid-October, which will make the 300 contiguous acres accessible and buildable for the first time since the Lynnway was constructed in the mid-1950s.

"What happens next down there depends on what the landowners do and what sort of investors express interest in the location," said Cowdell, noting that the overall plan favors high-rise residential development with ground-floor retail and a boardwalk along the harbor.

The proposal submission deadline is Aug. 10.

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