Lynn tracts are on a fast track


December 22, 2015
By Thor Jourgensen/The Daily Item

The city is one of only three in Massachusetts picked to participate in Gov. Charlie Baker’s initiative identifying unused or underused properties and turning them into economic engines.

Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy and city Economic Development and Industrial Corporation Director James Cowdell met Monday with state officials to get the property identification process rolling. Kennedy said Malden and Worcester are the other two participating cities.

"They’ve chosen Lynn as one of three communities for an extensive review and it’s far more than just giving them a list of properties,” Kennedy said.

Brick armory building on south common street in Lynn

Lynn on a fast track

The Armory on South Common Street in Lynn. Item photo/Owen O'Rourke

The Governor’s Real Estate Leveraging strategy is aimed at identifying property with the goal of working to revitalize it so that land or a building is used to its maximum potential. Kennedy said state Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance officials will meet with local officials beginning in January to identify local sites.

“They said Lynn has a ‘can-do’ attitude,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy said it is easy to compile a list of underutilized local property, including the South Common Street armory and vacant land behind the school administration building on Bennett Street bordering the commuter rail tracks.

“It’s big enough to hold an elementary school,” Kennedy said.

The hulking brick armory has a tower overlooking the Common, a detached motor-pool garage and large assembly space the size of a big high school gymnasium. Once the location for National Guard units and an Essex Sheriff’s program, only the armory’s parking lot gets use today as a Registry of Motor Vehicles driver testing site.

Kennedy said two other prospective sites that will be examined for future use are the Pine Hill and Tower Hill fire stations. A bond approved by the City Council last week includes feasibility study money for a future West Lynn fire station.

Kennedy called the station a “long-range future” plan that could eventually leave the two aging fire stations empty.

Thor Jourgensen can be reached at


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