Progress in Lowell

OSUPhantom

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Amazing transformation. Good for the City of Lowell. I love seeing these old mill cities come back. It's inspiring.
 

itchy

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Lowell looks fantastic. I hope that (1) the wide-ranging renovations in recent years actually do attract more professionals and people with earning power to shore up the city's economy and finances; (2) the renovations end up making money rather than being unsustainable; and (3) the renovations continue until all the remaining decrepit mill and other historic buildings are made functional again.

One thing I don't understand: DaveM, you mentioned that 91% of the mill space has been renovated, and Smuttynose said 89%.

However, in Smuttynose's photo essay, he went through current status of each of the mills. Almost all of them are about half-renovated. Wouldn't this imply ~50% of the mill space has been renovated? I don't see how we can get to ~90% when most of the mills are only halfway there...
 

FK4

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Arlington

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prob should go under transit, once it actually gets going
trolley extension update
http://www.lowellsun.com/todaysheadlines/ci_27057624/federal-grant-support-trolley-plan-design-work
Lowell is readier than most "Gateway Cities" for its revival. Its a little embarrassing that in the big round of transport upgrades, that they didn't focus more and find more to get the streetcar system farther.
More details from this story (and picture below) which are from nearly 3 years ago.
 

FK4

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true, but the canal district is primed and ready to be served by a streetcar, more so than the rest of the city - get it built and it will get expanded because it will probably be very successful.

lowell could become another northampton, but with a technology focus - with umass lowell increasing its influence (and getting a new campus in kuwait, as an aside, courtesy of $50M from raytheon), and the renovation of the mills to attract young startup types who are priced out of the boston market but dont want to live in a suburb (check this out http://5.lunalowell.com).

woburn is another town that has a lot of potential for further development - another reason it would be great to get a really solid commuter rail on the lowell line, maybe dmu's...
 

Arlington

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It also strikes me that Lowell should have a second CR stop at UMass Lowell's South Campus (the Riverview Suites already has an overpass over the tracks).

Developing the South Campus (and nearby areas) as TOD (both University and Residential) would be a big deal. A combined Trolley/CR stop should go there.

The two CR stations would be ~1mile apart by rail, but the streets make the two feel further apart, and the meandering trolley looks like its nearly 1.5miles (or 2?) to get between them.
 

#bancars

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Wow those pictures on the first page are incredible. Just goes to show how much potential these old new england downtowns have with some tlc.
Lowell really impressed me. The downtown area seems very well preserved with a good amount of local businesses and foot traffic. It helps that the city's core isn't split in half or otherwise really messed up by a highway. The canals are a HUGE asset too, still underutilized in spots.
 

Arlington

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[Mod note: do we have a couple of Lowell threads that should be merged? How can we encourage more Lowell (an Lawrence?) updates?]
 
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Lowell has not only renovated a lot of its old buildings, it has also built new public structures over the last two decades that fit in well with them. Tsongas Arena and LeLacheur Park are prime examples of this. These large structures don't overwhelm their surroundings and fit in well. The use of red brick for these blends in with other nearby brick buildings. They did these public venues right. In stark contrast in my view, you have the opposite approach nearby in Worcester. The DCU Center is a hulking structure that would have been better served had some of it been below street level reducing its visible height. Its exterior is ugly and it has the appearance of a large warehouse. Another Worcester mistake was made with the exterior at Polar Park. The exposed steel beams and blue corrugated ribbed cladding at the park used in its facade is extemely ugly. As others have mentioned, it looks like a big shipping container. Lowell has strived to create a downtown where most buildings create a cohesive appearance. Worcester is a hodge podge of many different styles with many that are just outright ugly. Its downtown lacks a cohesiveness as it is very disjointed.
 
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#bancars

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Another installment of the Globe's "On The Street" series, this time in Lowell.

 

MrDee12345

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Another installment of the Globe's "On The Street" series, this time in Lowell.

As a nonsubscriber, I can't see the content.

Still, I feel like Lowell is always making a comeback. It's certainly MUCH better than when I was growing up in the 80s and 90s in Billerica.

As far as old mill cities go, it's doing quite well. I just wish it would see it self more like an independent city with its own suburbs similar to Worcester. That way they might invest in more businesses and the city itself could be an employment hub.
 

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