The Heartbeat of Haverhill

Good News from A Great City Haverhill, MA

Harbor Place, Harbors Haverhill’s Dreams for Its Future

The Heartbeat of Haverhill got a mysterious message Friday night from a very credible source – Mayor Fiorentini. “Be at the Pentucket Bank Community Room on Monday – can’t tell you why,  but it will be good. Bring your camera.” DSC_0409-002 Harbor Place Haverhill 2014 So you can bet THOH was there on time with not one but two cameras in tow. We had our suspicions, one of the meeting places was out front of the Woolworth Building and the other across the street at Pentucket Bank. We astutely guessed new plans for that end of town were in the works even before the guests started piling in with similar conjectures. There were some mighty heavy hitters in that crowd – a television crew, several reporters, and photographers, a few people whose name tags labeled them as chancellor or chairman, representative, a couple of  name tags with “president” on them plus the mayor, city council, and state representatives. Lots of suits making it feel like the auspicious day it would become. Elegantly displayed catering  with lobster bisque and assorted tasty tidbits added a sense of festivity. We later found out Chicken Connection of Plaistow catered and let me tell you there wasn’t a chicken finger in sight. This was beautiful food that took back seat to the growing excitement and mystery surrounding the announcement. Five easel cards were covered with black board labeled Merrimack Street Ventures LLC, Waterfront District Development, teasing the crowd, yet no one peeked.

It takes not a village, but a city to rejuvenate Merrimack St

It takes not a village, but a city to rejuvenate Merrimack St

And then the announcement – the 42 year vacant Woolworth building has a new plan. And what a plan – one that will rejuvenate Merrimack Street. The plan is Harbor Place – and while some may say our river access does not technically constitute a harbor, THOH believes the name is appropriate because the river and its development  “harbor” our hopes and dreams for a thriving downtown. Riverview restaurants, public park area, land raised to flood wall height so the view is uninterrupted by dingy albeit necessary cement. Apartments, retail shops, parking.

Mayor Fiorentini with an architectural rendering of Harbor Place Haverhill

Mayor Fiorentini with an architectural rendering of Harbor Place Haverhill

And perhaps THOH’s favorite piece of information is the one we didn’t guess – the University of Massachusetts selected Haverhill for its UMass-Lowell satellite location though at least five other communities were aggressively vying for that honor.  Haverhill stood out because NECC is such a strong feeder school to UMass-Lowell. Because Representative Brian Dempsey and The Haverhill Foundation along with the Mayor and City Councilors are such fierce advocates and negotiators, and because the location is right. Much was made of our highway and rail access and public transportation as well as proximity to the river which is a recurrent theme with UMass-Lowell.

Harbor Place Plans Haverhill

Harbor Place Plans Haverhill

Despite our love of public parks, river access, and fine dining, THOH is most impressed with the UMass connection for a number of reasons: 1. A university will bring young people to town to invigorate the population 2. According to the statistics from the university, students  tend to stay in town for the short term at least and then in the state so we will be contributing to a highly educated population and we think we will be making Haverhill a more enticing place for young adults to settle down more permanently. 3. The University will own two floors of the new Harbor Place. And that gives stability to the project and potential customers to the retail and restaurants in the area during the daytime. DSC_0387-002 Harbor Place Haverhill 2014 When The Heartbeat of Haverhill began writing about the good news in Haverhill almost a year ago, we never knew the depth  and frequency of the good news we would cover.  Harbor Place is history in the making.  Congratulations to all involved in making this a reality and to the citizens of Haverhill for voting in the candidates who can dream such big dreams for our city and get them accomplished. Construction is slated to start next fall.

Re Brian Dempsey and UMass-Lowell chancellor Marty Meehan

Rep Brian Dempsey and UMass-Lowell chancellor Marty Meehan

(c) 2014 by Alison Colby-Campbell

15 comments on “Harbor Place, Harbors Haverhill’s Dreams for Its Future

  1. lynnefavreaul
    February 5, 2014

    Terrific news Alison. Looks like an interesting project.

    • Brain4Rent/THoH
      February 5, 2014

      Thanks Lynne,
      Most people never comment so I kind of write in a vacuum. I so appreciate it when people take the time to drop a line into the blog comment. You are excellent about that. And yes from what I could see this is a great opportunity for our city.

  2. Carlene
    February 7, 2014

    I have shopped in that Woolworth building as a kid. It will be nice to see that part of Haverhill brought back to life!

  3. Nancy
    March 10, 2014

    I’ve always wondered what would happen to that corner. This looks like great news! Thanks for your update as it went into more detail than what I found in the Boston Globe.

    • Brain4Rent/THoH
      March 10, 2014

      Thanks for reading! Always appreciate a new visitor who checks in with a comment.

  4. robert sullivan
    May 20, 2014

    I want to thankyou for covering this project. I have agonized over the boarded up Woolworth building for many years. When this project is done it will raise property values in Haverhill and mute some of the negativity about Haverhill from outsiders and negativity from Haverhill residents. The building has been a monument to failure. I am so happy to see a new plan for a building.
    Now, on to that messy land where Friends Landing used to be.

    • Brain4Rent/THoH
      May 20, 2014

      It is such an exciting change for the city. Glad to have college students downtown and a beautiful riverwalk, too. Thanks for checking in again.

  5. Brandy Lopes Daigle
    September 5, 2014

    Any new updates on Harbor Place?
    I’m hoping to hear they will be breaking ground soon…

    • Brain4Rent/THoH
      September 6, 2014

      Brandy, unfrtunately I don’t have the updates. You could give city hall a call.

  6. Daniel Paul Spero
    February 17, 2015

    Is it possible to get postcard or print of this development ?

    • Brain4Rent/THoH
      February 17, 2015

      Hi Daniel, thanks for reading my blog. You could check with Haverhill City Hall about postcards etc. I don’t own the rights to the illustrations. Hope that helps.

  7. MArsha Higginbotham
    February 20, 2015

    Just wondering where parking will be??

    • Brain4Rent/THoH
      February 20, 2015

      The plan I hear of had parking underneath with the other commercial and retail space starting at the height of the wall so as to increase visibility of the river

  8. deadeye321
    March 20, 2015

    I grew up in Bradford on South Kimball St. and remember the baaloons you picked on and popped it to see how much you paid for your banana split. Woolworths, the bowling alley, W.T. Grants and a place that sold leather goods, don’t remember the name, where I bought my first motorcycle jacket over 45 years ago all in that block.

    So what is the plan for the flood wall. I guess it will end there since the renderings show a marina. The Main Street bridge is very old are there anyplans to rebuild that in the near future?

    I left Haverhill to make a career of the navy, but my heart and my family is still in the area.

    You have a great blog.

    • Brain4Rent/THoH
      March 20, 2015

      Thank you Deadeye. So glad you enjoyed the blog and that I can help showcase some of the beauty of this remarkable city.

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Alison Colby-Campbell

Brain4Rent/THoH

Brain4Rent/THoH

Full-brain user demonstrating a healthy(?) obsession with marketing, promotion, writing, photography, house rabbits, the natural world, tennis, big and small problem solving, reading, hiking, HGTV and the flotsam & jetsam of everyday life. My three blogs Brain4Rent, The Heartbeat of Haverhill, Alison Colby-Campbell Photography are Wordpress based.

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