Lowell Infill and Small Developments

Smuttynose

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A couple years ago I posted this update on Lowell - http://www.archboston.org/community/showthread.php?t=4639

This is just a quick update of some changes since then. Nothing earth-shattering, but a couple interesting things --

Most of the main streets in Downtown Lowell have been converted to two-way from one-ways.

2013
DSCN1255 by mbconnors24, on Flickr

2015
Untitled by mbconnors24, on Flickr

This mill on Lawrence Street is being converted to housing. It was vacant in 2013.

2013
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2015
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2015
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The mill in the foreground (Counting House Mill) has been converted to apartments. It's an awesome little building, very narrow but it's so long it's almost impossible to photograph.

2013
DSCN1303 by mbconnors24, on Flickr

2013
DSCN1217 by mbconnors24, on Flickr

2015
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2015
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2015
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2015
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2015
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This building, immediately across from the just renovated Cotton House Lofts has not been renovated, but there is at least a sign now up promising it will be in 2017.

2013
DSCN1220 by mbconnors24, on Flickr

2015
Untitled by mbconnors24, on Flickr

Renovations to this building have been completed. It's currently used as offices for UMASS Lowell

2013
DSCN1014 by mbconnors24, on Flickr

2013
DSCN1008 by mbconnors24, on Flickr

2015
Untitled by mbconnors24, on Flickr

2015
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The areas that have probably changed the most surround the UMASS Lowell campus which has grown significantly. This was an abandoned hospital; it was bought by the university and is now the student center (Credit: EMW).

2011
University_Crossing_%28former_Saint_Joseph%27s_Hospital%29_main_entrance_detail%3B_Lowell%2C_MA%3B_2011-09-03.JPG


2015
Untitled by mbconnors24, on Flickr

Untitled by mbconnors24, on Flickr

Here's just a few random photos from around the City

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Looking north from Market St.
Untitled by mbconnors24, on Flickr

Merrimack Riverfront
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Pawtucket Falls
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Canal Walk
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Alley behind Dutton St.
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Dutton St.
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There has not been much activity in the Hamilton Canal District area in the last 2-3 years.
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Some cool ruins
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Folk Festival
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There are some cool slightly hipster-centric businesses that have opened relatively recently Downtown.

Unchartered Gallery, Gallery+Bar+Pizza

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Mill No. 5 - Assortment of businesses including movie theater

Untitled by mbconnors24, on Flickr

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Thanks for taking a peak.
 
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As people here have previously stated, Lowell is greatly improving when you compare it from 10 years ago. These renovations are interesting and different. It might be cool if they constructed one or two brand new modern buildings with high quality materials just to give a little contrast and variety. Especially in this area :
(great picture, by the way)
Something like that UMASS Lowell Student Center would be nice, IMO.
 
Re: Lowell 2015 update

Really nice pics and I remember the last set from before, too. Unfortunate about Hamilton but someone will pick up that project sooner or later. Mill No. 5 looks awesome. Im also glad to hear about the one way street to two way conversions, since that made navigating downtown completely impossible for someone who wasnt from there...
 
Re: Lowell 2015 update

Thanks, Smuttynose. I remember being absolutely transfixed by your previous installment a few years ago. Really enjoyed seeing the update and looking forward to more to come. For a place that had about as crummy a reputation as you could get when I was a kid, Lowell has some amazing-looking places these days, and the trajectory appears to be an upward one with plenty of great old buildings remaining to rehab.
 
Re: Lowell 2015 update

BTW, did UMass-Lowell effectively demo the old hospital?

It looks like it (even if they retained some structural elements, looks like none of the masonry remains - is that right?). That's the one picture that's a bit of a shame. The old masonry walls of the hospital actually look pretty nice (in a 1930s Catholic school/rectory/priests nursing home kind of way) and could've been a cool residential/office conversion.

The glass building is about as "2012 generic" as it gets ... and somehow it looks pretty cheap despite the fact the state surely wasn't skimping (given the university admins were "only" spending other people's tax dollars) and Perkins + Will is a fairly blue-chip firm.
 
Re: Lowell 2015 update

166 Central St (a small four story block) has just finished being renovated. I'll try to get pics of the reno'd building soon. It's 75% occupied with an adult day care center as the tenant. The fourth floor, great views and skylights is still available.

Before renovation:
aoqs11.jpg
 
Re: Lowell 2015 update

$40M, 240-unit apartment building proposed in Lowell

LOWELL -- A six-story, 240-unit apartment building has been proposed for vacant land off Wellman Street along the Lowell Connector.

An attorney for the project, George Theodorou, said it would be the largest market-rate residential development in the city's history. The $40 million project would include a connected parking structure with more than 400 parking spaces.

"This is such an exciting project," Theodorou said.

Read more: http://www.lowellsun.com/news/ci_29...artment-complex-proposed-lowell#ixzz43prJHdQD
 
Re: Lowell 2015 update

The renovation of the Picker Building in Lowell is finally underway. In the photo below, this is the taller building in the background that's in terrible shape. The building in front of it will be stabilized as part of the development, but not yet renovated. These are among the very last un-rehabilitated mills left in Downtown Lowell.

2011
P1030043.jpg


The building was literally crumbling in on itself, so it's a good thing. It's an odd location, completely off and hidden from the main road and totally hemmed in by other mill buildings. I took the following photos last week:

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Re: Lowell 2015 update

The Old 1876 Boston and Maine Train Depot in Downtown Lowell, once on the verge of demolition before being rescued by the National Park Service, is being retrofitted to house a new performing arts center for Middlesex Community College. The building will house an egg shaped theater, music recital hall, and dance studio all within the 1876 brick shell. It should be completed late this year. Renderings by LEERS WEINZAPFEL ASSOCIATES.

MCC_Ext-1700x1148.jpg


MCC_ModelPhoto2-1700x1133.jpg


Brief video on the project here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-yc7W_1pGY&feature=player_embedded
 
Re: Lowell 2015 update

The renovation of the Picker Building in Lowell is finally underway. In the photo below, this is the taller building in the background that's in terrible shape. The building in front of it will be stabilized as part of the development, but not yet renovated. These are among the very last un-rehabilitated mills left in Downtown Lowell.

2011
P1030043.jpg


The building was literally crumbling in on itself, so it's a good thing. It's an odd location, completely off and hidden from the main road and totally hemmed in by other mill buildings. I took the following photos last week:

25402830214_f95b7a2b83_b.jpg


25914906192_402d6ded33_c.jpg


25734803270_1ba387390f_c.jpg


25402845754_0656acecf9_c.jpg


Do you have any idea who is responsible for the rennovation? I think this is slightly outside the Hamilton Canal district.
 
Re: Lowell 2015 update

Do you have any idea who is responsible for the rennovation? I think this is slightly outside the Hamilton Canal district.

Ahhh this is by Bridge Street and across the concord river from the theater. Good find. I remember there being some extreme remediation problems with chemical spillage on that property.
 
Re: Lowell 2015 update

Just as Bostonians should ask where all the incremental RE taxes from the Seaport went (if not for Seaport transportation), so folks in Lowell should ask where all the incremental RE taxes from these loft-conversions are going.

Seriously. Where is it going? Not schools (these aren't "family" units). So where?
 
Re: Lowell 2015 update

Not exactly atonement for the shelved streetcar expansion, but this should significantly improve walkability in the area, particularly in getting from the commuter rail station to downtown --

City plan: Remove Lord Overpass
Vision puts streets at one level, makes area pedestrian-friendly

Read more: http://www.lowellsun.com/todaysheadlines/ci_29722701/city-plan-remove-lord-overpass#ixzz45Amr3qU8

The original plan was essentially a re-build of the existing overpass, but it ran into a lot of public pushback.
 
Re: Lowell 2015 update

CityLab has a take on the Lord Overpass plan: http://www.citylab.com/cityfixer/2016/04/street-design-models/479343/

I don't know enough about Lowell to understand how the redo will affect the area - but if all it's doing (for cars, at least) is bringing a highway up to ground level (without dropping speeds), I don't see how it's an improvement over the "huge divide" that's currently there (per Lowell Sun article).
 
Re: Lowell 2015 update

Option 3 is nothing less than a traffic planner's wet dream and a vulnerable road users worst nightmare.
I love how the advance yield lines "sharks teeth" are located at the travel lane merge not before the crosswalk - 'cus it's OK to slam your car into a lowly pedestrian, but terrible to have a fender bender with another car. With the large diameter right hand turn lanes encouraging high speed turns, there is no way this can be safe for people on foot or on bike.

All three "options" are on the City's website here: http://www.lowellma.gov/dpd/planning/Pages/Lord-OverpassGateway-to-Lowell.aspx

I think its time for the City to step back and rethink this whole mess and make it safe for people on foot and on bike.
 
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