Vargas Economic Development Amendment Affects $8 Million for Downtown Haverhill

Downtown Haverhill will receive $8 million in public economic development assistance if the state House of Representatives is successful.

The House agreed Thursday afternoon to include the Haverhill Amendment, proposed by Rep. Andy X. Vargas, as part of more than $85 million for local economic development and infrastructure projects. It is part of a $3.8 billion economic development bill that still needs to be approved by the Senate and Governor Charlie Baker.

Vargas, who is vice-chairman of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, told WHAV News shortly after the vote that the money leverages the planned $160 million investment by Salvatore N. Lupoli.

“This is the largest assignment for Haverhill we have secured for Haverhill during my time in the House. I am extremely grateful for the impact this will have on the transformation of Merrimack Street, downtown,” said Vargas.

The $8 million was set aside for the “Downtown Merrimack Street Redevelopment Project” and covers public costs surrounding the Lupoli Companies project on a 4.5-acre parcel that includes the Herbert H. Goecke Memorial Parking Lot. Existing Jr. Lupoli has been selected as the developer by the city and will construct 370 residential units in five separate buildings, 51,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and a 616-space replacement parking lot.

Vargas said there was more for Haverhill in the economic development bill.

“The Town of Haverhill will also receive $300,000 for local economic development recovery efforts. We know these investments leverage private investment and help ensure that Haverhill’s best days are still ahead of us,” he said.

Vargas explained that the extra amount is “flexible” and it’s up to the city to decide how best to spend it.

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