October 30, 2017 - Dedication of Harbor Place Celebrated, a Transformative Development in Downtown Haverhill


Harbor Place, a new mixed-income, mixed-use development in downtown Haverhill was dedicated today. Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley O.F.M. Cap., Secretary Jay Ash of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, Mayor James Fiorentini were joined by Lisa Alberghini, President of the Planning Office for Urban Affairs of the Archdiocese (POUA), and Ronald Trombley, Managing Director of the Greater Haverhill Foundation at today's dedication.

"Harbor Place is a wonderful example of the church partnering with local, state and non profit communities to offer families safe and affordable housing” said Cardinal Seán. “Through this development the Planning Office for Urban Affairs of the Archdiocese, in partnership with the Greater Haverhill Foundation, is also supporting new economic growth to help revitalize this once distressed area of the downtown. This is what building strong communities is about and we are blessed to have the opportunity to be part of this wonderful project."

Harbor Place includes 80 units of mixed-income housing, a five-story commercial building, a new public plaza and a grand boardwalk that brings pedestrians to the Merrimack River in this area of the downtown for the first time in more than 80 years. The development replaces a former Woolworth building, which sat vacant and abandoned in the downtown for 45 years, and several other vacant or underutilized structures. Of the 80 units of housing, 56 are affordable workforce housing and 24 are market rate. Occupants of the commercial buildings include HC Media, the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Pentucket Bank’s corporate headquarters, and office space for rent at the penthouse level. The new boardwalk provides spectacular views of the Merrimack River, which was once hidden by a 10-foot high flood wall. During the event a plaque was unveiled naming the boardwalk after the former Chairman of the Massachusetts House Ways and Means Committee, Brian S. Dempsey, who was instrumental in making the development a reality.

“We are proud of our continued investments in Haverhill’s future, and the important partnerships we’ve formed with organizations like POUA and the Greater Haverhill Foundation,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “Harbor Place will bring critically needed housing and revitalize vacant, underutilized buildings in the city’s downtown. The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to providing flexible, effective resources to our Gateway Cities, including MassWorks, direct housing subsidies, the Housing Development Incentive Program, MassDevelopment’s TDI program and more to drive jobs, create new housing, and support long-term economic growth.”

“The Harbor Place development featuring five stories of quality commercial space, eighty first class residential apartments, a beautiful new public plaza and waterfront boardwalk has been a major undertaking in our City that could only have been accomplished through a total commitment to teamwork at both the State and local levels”, said Ron Trombley, Managing Director of the Greater Haverhill Foundation. “We are very pleased to be a partner is this transformative downtown initiative.”

“We are grateful for our partners, the Greater Haverhill Foundation, and for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in particular Secretary Ash and Undersecretary Kornegay. We are also grateful for the City of Haverhill, and the many local institutions that played a critical role in this development” said Lisa Alberghini, President of the Planning Office for Urban Affairs. “What we have accomplished together is remarkable, and it has already triggered further investment in the downtown for the benefit of all who live and work there. I join with Cardinal Seán in thanking the Baker-Polito Administration, the City of Haverhill, and former Representative Brian Dempsey for their extraordinary support."

Called transformative by many in and around Haverhill, Harbor Place represents a fresh start to many in the City. As an indication of that, when the Woolworth building was demolished to make way for the new development many local residents gathered on the roof of the adjacent parking deck to observe the building coming down, seeing it as a symbolic gesture to usher in Haverhill’s bright future.

Financing for Harbor Place includes funding from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development; the Massachusetts Housing Partnership Fund Board; construction loan financing from Bank of America, in addition to equity provided by the Bank through the purchase of Federal and State Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and State Housing Development Incentive Program tax credits; HOME funds from the City of Haverhill and the North Shore HOME Consortium; a tax-increment financing arrangement with the City; and loans from Pentucket Bank, Haverhill Bank, the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation and MassDevelopment. The overall initiative was also supported by awards of MassWorks funds from the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development to the City of Haverhill for infrastructure, adjusting the grades in the downtown, the public plaza and the boardwalk.

About the Planning Office for Urban Affairs, Inc.

The Planning Office for Urban Affairs, Inc. is a social justice ministry affiliated with the Archdiocese of Boston, which creates vibrant communities through the development of high quality affordable and mixed income housing and community redevelopment initiatives. As a prominent regional non-profit developer and one of the leading diocesan housing development ministries for the Catholic Church in America, POUA has completed nearly 2,700 units of housing and has undertaken neighborhood revitalization projects in several Massachusetts communities.

About the Greater Haverhill Foundation, Inc. The Greater Haverhill Foundation, Inc. (GHF) is a private non-profit economic development corporation created in 1964 by a special act of the Massachusetts Legislature. The GHF was founded by local business and community leaders who invested their own funds via stock subscription, in an all-volunteer self-help initiative to address the extensive job loss and decline of economic activity related to the demise of the shoe and leather manufacturing industries in the City of Haverhill. The mission of the GHF is to promote, develop and advance the business prosperity and economic welfare of the City of Haverhill and its Citizen’s through loans, investments or other business transactions which provide maximum opportunities for employment and improve the standard of living of local citizens.