Waterfront Development Backed Up By Questions


November 30, 2016
By Thomas Grillo/The Daily Item

The city’s first major waterfront development that promises to jumpstart the Lynnway’s transformation will take longer than expected to break ground.

Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton asked in a letter to  Minco Development from North Andover, to detail how it plans to avoid, minimize and mitigate the environmental, traffic and parking impacts of the $80 million project that will turn the former Beacon Chevrolet site into an oceanfront apartment community.

An artist rendering of the waterfront residential development to be built at the former Beacon Chevrolet site on the Lynnway by Mimco Development.


An artist rendering of the waterfront residential development to be built at the former Beacon Chevrolet site on the Lynnway by Minco Development.

Since the proposal requires a Chapter 91 license, a state law that protects the public’s access to waterways, and the development will receive $1.2 million in infrastructure assistance, the Commonwealth has broad jurisdiction over the project, he wrote.  

Before being issued a permit, the developer must provide an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that will demonstrate how plans for the 9-acre site will avoid damage to the environment, identify impacts to the wetlands, analyze the site’s vulnerability to climate change, avoid or fix any damage to the landscape and mitigate traffic impacts, Beaton wrote.

Eric Loth, Minco’s managing director, said the EIR will take up to 90 days to complete and push the project’s start date closer to Labor Day.

“Sometimes we look at these things and think, gosh, it looks like there’s some overreach because the state wants answers on this, that and the other,” he said. “But I think we can work through all of the issues they’ve raised. Obviously, this project is important to the city and the state, so I hope they will work with cooperatively.”

Beaton also noted that the project fails to meet the goals of the city’s Municipal Harbor Plan which calls for a mix of housing, retail, hotels, a marina, parks and light industry on the 300-acre site from the General Edwards Bridge to the intersection of the Lynnway and Market Street.

In October,  Loth met with the New Lynn Coalition, a nonprofit group of housing advocates and union members who are lobbying for affordable units as part of the development and union construction.  While each side agreed the talk was useful, the developer did not make any promises.

If approved, the project will include 348 apartments in two buildings across from the North Shore Community College. The site has been vacant for more than three decades. When completed, it is expected to turn an eyesore into a world-class neighborhood with apartments offering sweeping ocean views, a nearby commuter rail station and a dock for a potential ferry to Boston. The development team also plans to connect the walkway from the Lynn Heritage State Park to the Clocktower Business Center on the Lynnway.

James Cowdell, executive director of the Lynn Economic Development and Industrial Corp., the city’s development bank, said he was not surprised that the state has asked Minco for more details about the project’s impacts. 

“This is simply how the permitting process goes on the state level,” he said. “It’s a sign that progress is being made.”

Thomas Grillo can be reached at tgrillo@itemlive.com.


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