By Thomas Grillo
Nine months after Mayor Thomas M. McGee and the City Council clashed over the future of a former repair shop, the developer is now planning 100 condos on the site off the Lynnway.
Patrick J. McGrath told The Journal he plans to replace the Lynnway Truck Center on Blossom Street with a five-story, condominium complex.
“There’s a tremendous need for housing in Lynn and these units will make more available,” he said.
Originally, McGrath proposed to replace the 11,700-square-foot truck stop with a $20 million storage facility. But the plan was rejected last spring by the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA).
The controversial 4-1 vote to kill it came despite the City Council’s unanimous support for the 100,000-square-foot storage warehouse. Councilors said the six-story building would generate as much as $800,000 in annual property taxes, about $771,000 more than what the city gets today. Councilors said as the market changes, the warehouse could be replaced with a better commercial use.
But in contrast to the council’s enthusiastic support, the mayor pleaded with the ZBA to deny the variance. He argued such a use so close to the Lynnway fails to meet the city’s vision for a vibrant waterfront with a mix of stores, apartments, office space, and a hotel.
State Rep. Peter Capano (D-Lynn) said housing is preferred over a repair shop or a storage warehouse.
“I think the best use for that site is housing,” he said. “We’re in the midst of a housing crisis and every unit we add is a benefit for the city.”
The Blossom Street project is McGrath’s most recent housing initiative. Last month, he sold the last of his two dozen condominiums on Western Avenue. The one- and two-bedroom units closed at between $225,000 to $334,400, according to the MLS Property Information Network.
The four-story building features an elevator, off-street parking, and units with an open, contemporary layout.
McGrath said he was not surprised by the brisk sales.
“That’s why we built them,” he said. “There are not many condos for sale in Lynn. There’s a need.”
At press time, MLS listed just 24 condos for sale in the city from a 560-square-foot unit near the beach on Newhall Street for $154,900 to $499,900 for a two-bedroom unit in the over-55 development at Nells Pond Village on Peach Tree Lane.
In addition, the City Council recently approved McGrath’s request to increase the size of his $35 million condominium project at the former Porthole Restaurant.
Under a revised plan, McGrath is planning to replace the landmark restaurant with Harbor 98, an eight-story waterfront condominium development with 74 luxury units.
McGrath said the one- and two-bedroom condos will be priced from $500,000 to nearly $2 million. Construction is expected to be completed in 2021.
He is also on track to replace his Lynnway Mart Indoor Mall & Flea Market with 550 apartments. Also on the back burner is his plan to replace the Lynnway Mart Indoor Mall & Flea Market with a mix of apartments and commercial space. He has proposed four, seven-story apartment buildings on the waterfront parcel with 550 studio, and one- and two-bedroom units.