Lowell Infill and Small Developments

Smuttynose

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Re: Lowell 2015 update

438-bed private dorm proposed for Downtown Lowell site

LOWELL -- College students in Lowell would have a new downtown living option with features they could brag to their friends about if a 438-bed housing development presented to the Planning Board Monday is approved.

The five-story building would feature an outdoor fire pit, a weight room, a game room and indoor bike storage, along with a dedicated shuttle bus taking residents to UMass Lowell.

Earlier Monday, UMass Lowell officials celebrated the opening of a much smaller but similar project. A building just down the street from University Crossing on Pawtucket Street has six residential units, all targeted for UMass Lowell students.

Read more: http://www.lowellsun.com/todayshead...hearing-438-bed-housing-complex#ixzz49CoX5rum
 

reverend_paco

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Re: Lowell 2015 update

Winn Management has become the new master developer for the Lowell Hamilton Canal District.

This is the role that Trinity Financial played before it "gave-up" working with the council and the city.

http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/r...anies-exec-larry-curtis-on-the-future-of.html

2008 was tough, and now with $ earmarked for the Judicial Center, and the Lord Overpass fixing, Lupoli fixing up Thorndike St, we might have all the pieces to extend the gem that is the downtown Lowell all the way to the gateway.
 

Smuttynose

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Re: Lowell 2015 update

City manager fuming over UMass purchase, lack of communication

http://www.lowellsun.com/todayshead...nager-miffed-over-uml-perkiness-purchase-lack

Have to agree with the city here. UML sat on the abandoned mill for years and didn't renovate it. When private developers finally did, UML now wants to scoop it up and take it off the tax rolls. It's a giant development by Lowell standards and includes its own parking garage, renovated mills and new construction apartments.
 

JG573

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Re: Lowell 2015 update

City manager fuming over UMass purchase, lack of communication

http://www.lowellsun.com/todayshead...nager-miffed-over-uml-perkiness-purchase-lack

Have to agree with the city here. UML sat on the abandoned mill for years and didn't renovate it. When private developers finally did, UML now wants to scoop it up and take it off the tax rolls. It's a giant development by Lowell standards and includes its own parking garage, renovated mills and new construction apartments.
Communication could have been better but i received my degree from UML, so I have a little insight on this. It was a great decision for UML to scoop that up, the state has been giving less to the universities over the years and things are getting tight when it comes to big capital projects. For 61.5 million dollars that is a steal and it would have cost far more to build something of that size with that much housing for that many students. Overall, it was a amazing business decision for UML.

Communication could have been better like I said but UML can get away with a lot because of the nature of Lowell. It has a lot of problems and most of the nice parts of Lowell are UML. If it was not for the university that city would be having a lot more of a hard time. 380,000 in tax dollars is a drop in the bucket compared to what UML does for the city and the money it brings in.

Plus this property and the Notini & Sons land really brings together east campus and the Tsongas center finally.
 

tysmith95

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Re: Lowell 2015 update

Communication could have been better like I said but UML can get away with a lot because of the nature of Lowell. It has a lot of problems and most of the nice parts of Lowell are UML. If it was not for the university that city would be having a lot more of a hard time. 380,000 in tax dollars is a drop in the bucket compared to what UML does for the city and the money it brings in.
I agree. Lowell would look a lot like Lawrence Massachusetts if Umass Lowell wasn't there. UML is the reason why Lowell isn't as blighted/poor as Lawrence.
 

reverend_paco

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Re: Lowell 2015 update

The Lupoli-driven Thorndike Exchange (former Comfort Furniture next to the commuter rail station) is closer to happening. Lowell's historic board passed the development through:

http://www.lowellsun.com/breakingnews/ci_30357974/key-city-board-approves-thorndike-exchange-project

Lupoli will preserve much of the red bricks and mortar of the former Comfort Bedding & Furniture building that overlooks the Gallagher Transportation Terminal. But penthouses units will be enclosed in glass, giving at least a portion of the building a futuristic look.

"I'm glad the Historic Board is looking beyond the red bricks and mortar while endorsing our plan to marry the old with the new," Lupoli added.

The city's Planning Board gave its approval to the project last month. The number of planned apartments at Thorndike Exchange has increased to 152, from 118. A total of 82 residential units will have one bedroom, and 58 will have two bedrooms. There will be 12 studios.

It will include two restaurants and 31,000 square-feet of commercial space, only slightly more than half of what was first planned. The project will rely on about 160 parking spaces at the adjacent Gallagher Terminal, with a planned enclosed footbridge between the mill and garage that would be built next spring.
 

Smuttynose

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Re: Lowell 2015 update

This could be a bit of a gamechanger for Lowell. Virtually all of the residential growth Downtown, with the exception of the private dorm, has been reuse and redevelopment and not new construction.

LUXURY CONDO PROJECT: High-end living on Lowell's Lower Locks





Read more: http://www.lowellsun.com/ci_3050386...t-high-end-living-lowells-lower#ixzz4O7Fdbm5r

LOWELL - High-end condominiums - 63 to be exact - are envisioned for a new building just off Lower Locks, with prices not often seen in Lowell: between $400,000 to potentially as high as $900,000.

The luxury condos would be in a new building on Merrimack Street overlooking the Concord River. It will feature a glass facade with touches of limestone that echo the stately architecture of the nearby Lowell Memorial Auditorium and Middlesex Community College's Federal Building. If the project goes forward, it will be the ninth substantial housing development approved in Lowell that, taken collectively, is dynamically changing the downtown residential landscape...

Read more: http://www.lowellsun.com/ci_3050386...t-high-end-living-lowells-lower#ixzz4O7GzCDsc
 

tysmith95

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Re: Lowell 2015 update

^
This is great!! A few years ago I would have been shocked that anyone would pay 900k for an apartment in Lowell. This city has gone a long way. Now if only Lawrence could have revitalization like this.
 

reverend_paco

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Re: Lowell 2015 update

This could be a bit of a gamechanger for Lowell. Virtually all of the residential growth Downtown, with the exception of the private dorm, has been reuse and redevelopment and not new construction.

LUXURY CONDO PROJECT: High-end living on Lowell's Lower Locks





Read more: http://www.lowellsun.com/ci_3050386...t-high-end-living-lowells-lower#ixzz4O7Fdbm5r

LOWELL - High-end condominiums - 63 to be exact - are envisioned for a new building just off Lower Locks, with prices not often seen in Lowell: between $400,000 to potentially as high as $900,000.

The luxury condos would be in a new building on Merrimack Street overlooking the Concord River. It will feature a glass facade with touches of limestone that echo the stately architecture of the nearby Lowell Memorial Auditorium and Middlesex Community College's Federal Building. If the project goes forward, it will be the ninth substantial housing development approved in Lowell that, taken collectively, is dynamically changing the downtown residential landscape...

Read more: http://www.lowellsun.com/ci_3050386...t-high-end-living-lowells-lower#ixzz4O7GzCDsc

Holy Smokes. That would be beautiful, but my internal skeptic thinks that there is no way a $900K condo would sell down there. I say this as a huge Lowell fan (I still own two condos there and lived there for eight years).
 

reverend_paco

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Re: Lowell 2015 update

Holy Smokes. That would be beautiful, but my internal skeptic thinks that there is no way a $900K condo would sell down there. I say this as a huge Lowell fan (I still own two condos there and lived there for eight years).
This site seemed familiar. I remember when this site was sold.
http://www.lowellsun.com/news/ci_24628946/new-life-downtown-lowell-gateway

Interesting youtube from 3 years ago right after the sale on the parcel.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hx1e-Chmag
 

reverend_paco

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Re: Lowell 2015 update

It looks like Lowell cannot catch a break:

http://www.lowellsun.com/todayshead...developer-resigns-from-lowells-hamilton-canal

Winn Development became the second company to resign as master developer for Lowell's Hamilton Canal District after both city leaders and residents voiced a desire to have little to no residential development within the district.

The move caught several city councilors by surprise, though Mayor Ed Kennedy said he had an inkling it was coming.

"I think that the majority of the City Council is interested in going with commercial development in the Hamilton Canal District and I think Winn's expertise is in residential development," Kennedy said.

Winn was the only company to submit a bid to be master developer after Trinity Financial resigned in May 2015, under pressure from city leaders to speed up development of the $800 million, 13-acre district.

Winn, based in Boston but with offices and several properties in Lowell, was selected by a unanimous vote of the City Council in May, but even then there were indications that the council wanted to move away from having residential units in the district.
Luckily the Judicial Center is proceeding and Sal Lupoli's Thorndike Exchange is going ahead, or I would pronounce this city cursed.
 

choo

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Re: Lowell 2015 update

What's the rationale for no residential? Not even mixed? (I'm not familiar with Lowell but this seems to go against the grain of other small cities seeking to bring in residence and mix use)
 

palindrome

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Re: Lowell 2015 update

I too am a little perplexed by the no residential reasoning.

Is there any reason this area needs a master developer? Can the city not just go parcel by parcel?
 

reverend_paco

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Re: Lowell 2015 update

I too am a little perplexed by the no residential reasoning.

Is there any reason this area needs a master developer? Can the city not just go parcel by parcel?
I can only guess myself, as someone who lived in Lowell for 8 years relatively near this location.

My guess is that the city feels that the downtown and surrounding area is already fairly residential. Most of the area within the canals (at least near the hamilton) already hosts nice loft buildings for residential.

Like a lot of other formerly great cities and current gateway cities Lowell probably believes in revitalizing the downtown with a relevant mix (office) that can draw people into the city.

Lowell already has some major employers, but they live on the periphery. If their vision is to revitalize, I understand their reasoning.
 

stefal

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Re: Lowell 2015 update

Small update on Lowell:

UMass is investing quite a bit on their facilities recently.

Yesterday they announced they're beginning a 2 year renovation and addition to two of their eight engineering/science buildings, totaling ~$80 million. Yesterday Gov. Baker also announced an additional $10 million in funding for the renovation of a UML Property downtown. (Boston Business Journal)

This past spring they officially opened a new business center:



 
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Patrick

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Re: Lowell 2015 update

I can only guess myself, as someone who lived in Lowell for 8 years relatively near this location.

My guess is that the city feels that the downtown and surrounding area is already fairly residential. Most of the area within the canals (at least near the hamilton) already hosts nice loft buildings for residential.

Like a lot of other formerly great cities and current gateway cities Lowell probably believes in revitalizing the downtown with a relevant mix (office) that can draw people into the city.

Lowell already has some major employers, but they live on the periphery. If their vision is to revitalize, I understand their reasoning.
I understand their reasoning too. Lowell probably doesn't want to just be a bedroom. They want independent significance, and that comes from commercial presence. I think the central cities are looking to do the opposite, increase residential, so they can become 24/7 places. It depends on the city's existing perspective/role in the larger metro area I think, and as an outsider Lowell appears to be mostly bedroom (despite its obvious local service establishments and probably a few other notable commercial presences).

Another reason could be that residential development is often perceived as having a negative impact on school costs whereas commercial development pays taxes without adding to spending too much.

Lastly, if this is city owned land, there could be greater environmental cleanup costs associated with a residential use, which would decrease the offering price for the land from a residential developer, or increase the pre-sale burden on the city. Just speculating but it seems like that could be a factor given location.
 

reverend_paco

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Re: Lowell 2015 update

Holy Smokes. That would be beautiful, but my internal skeptic thinks that there is no way a $900K condo would sell down there. I say this as a huge Lowell fan (I still own two condos there and lived there for eight years).
Did some sleuthing and found a proposal on the Lowell city site (kinda a PNF) for this project. I'll grab some screenshots later, but here is the PDF.

https://www.lowellma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/2267
 

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