Talks on possible major Lynn waterfront development progress

Septebmer 28, 2012, 2012
By Thor Jourgensen/The Daily Item

Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy said a real estate appraisal set to be completed in mid-October represents another step forward in a “complicated, huge deal” aimed at bringing a developer to 20 acres of waterfront land off of the Lynnway.

The appraisal — the second to be undertaken this year on the South Harbor site — examines how much money a potential investor might have to spend on developing the site and what the return on that investment could be.

Kennedy said this week the appraisal comes on the heels of another conducted in July and August.

“It’s certainly progressing,” she said Tuesday.

Located near the General Edwards Bridge on the Lynnway, South Harbor is a key location in city planners’ visions for turning Lynn’s waterfront from undeveloped and underdeveloped land into tax-producing commercial and residential developments and open space.

Economic Development and Industrial Corporation Executive Director James Cowdell on Thursday said the city’s 2007 waterfront master plan envisioned buildings up to 20 stories high on South Harbor with commercial and retail uses on the ground floors and residences on the upper floors.

“Every single day we’re working hard to have development occur on that site. We’re working hand-in-hand with all the parties,” he said.

Kennedy, Cowdell and Ward 6 City Councilor Peter Capano declined to identify potential South Harbor investors who commissioned the appraisals or the names of the firms performing the appraisals. Attempts to reach South Harbor landowners Patrick McGrath and Joseph O’Donnell on Thursday were unsuccessful.

Capano has attended meetings on the South Harbor’s site future and, on Thursday, said, “Lately, I’ve been sensing something good is going to happen.”

“There’s been significant progress. Nothing could come of it but, on the other hand, quite a bit could come of it,” Capano said.

Capano and five other councilors, including Ward 5’s Brendan Crighton, won a council vote this week to adopt a state law greatly reducing the amount of time it takes for developers to secure permits. In their motion to adopt the so-called 43D provision, Capano and Crighton listed five land parcels along the Lynnway and Blossom Street — including South Harbor — as a priority development site.

Under 43D, priority development sites are guaranteed local permitting decisions in 180 days, according to Crighton, and adopting the accelerated state permitting law significantly reduces the amount of time it takes to get state permit approval.

“It makes it more friendly for businesses,” Capano said.

Thor Jourgensen can be reached at



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