By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.
“The future’s in the air
I can feel it everywhere
Blowing with the wind of change”
-The Scorpions, 1991
It may seem trite to quote a heavy metal rock song from the 1990s, when opening a discussion about the future of Lynn, but the fact is that the ‘Winds of Change’ have started blowing pretty steadily here and it seems with the recent sale of the former Beacon Chevrolet site on the Lynnway those winds are now picking up as well.
The sale, just two weeks ago, of the long neglected waterfront site across from North Shore Community College’s Lynn campus is one thing to be excited about. However, when taken with the on-going construction at NSCC, recent zoning changes along the Lynnway corridor, announced plans for as many as 1,600 new apartment and condominium units and the soon to be built new Market Basket on Western Avenue, that excitement becomes the hottest development story in the entire state.
“We are seeing a tremendous amount of development activity (in Lynn),” said State Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, Jay Ash. “I believe it is a result of several factors including coordinated leadership among the stakeholders, the pre-development work around zoning that has entitled a process for development and the availability of state resources to work in unison with private investment.”
Ash specifically mentioned programs such as the state’s Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) and the Lynn Economic Advancement and Development (LEAD) team, as key factors in the recent success of Lynn attracting development.
The LEAD team includes Ash, U.S. Congressman Seth Moulton, Mass. Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack, Mass. Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton and Lynn EDIC Executive Director James Cowdell.
“Lynn is showing that when everyone is working together and the zoning and resources are aligned, the development community will take notice,” added Ash. “The Baker administration was attracted to Lynn because of this coordination and we have built upon it to identify the real development opportunities, and the hurdles that need to be overcome to bring those developments to the community.”
Ash said he has been impressed with the local vision in Lynn and the willingness of stakeholders, including local institutions and the business community, to work with the Baker administration and Congressman Moulton to project a positive image for the future of Lynn.
On-going and planned developments for downtown Lynn and the Lynnway include:
- Expansion of facilities at North Shore Community College, Lynn campus
- Construction of a new market Basket store on the former GE Factory of the Future site
- Purchase of the 14-acre Beacon Chevrolet site, with plans for $80 million development with 355 luxury, waterfront apartments
- Purchase of the 65-acre GE Gear Works site, with plans for $500 million development with up to 1,200 apartment/condominium units
- Purchase of a 17-acre waterfront site, with plans for $69 million development with 250 apartments
- Proposed expansion and redevelopment of GE River Works commuter rail station to provide more convenient access to downtown Boston from Lynn