Lowell has a long and recent history of Eminent Domain usage!

I’ve stated that based on the current design and the fact it offers no disruption to students that I prefer the Cawley site pending more information but if it has to remain downtown than option 3 offers the best choice and that includes taking 75 Arcand dr.

Eminent Domain isn’t anything new here in Lowell. 3 current members of the City Council voted for eminent domain that took the Barney’s Deli block for a parking garage and took houses for a bridge. A High School in my is much more important and has a greater impact
on a community than a parking garage.

Here’s a little history of Eminent Domain usage in Lowell…

The Merrimack Square on Paige Street stood where the John Street Garage is. A converted corporation boarding house, this was a movie palace from 1909-1952 and had a lobby of Spanish decor. The City took the theater by eminent domain to demolish it for parking in December of 1953.

Norman Glassman operated the Capitol at 376 Middlesex Street from 1926 to 1959. The City took this by eminent domain in order to construct the Lord Overpass over Thorndike Street.

In the 1960s, the Lowell Redevelopment Authority targeted the Hale-Howard Streets area for “redevelopment.” The plan was to create open space for industrial development which would reinvigorate Lowell; the result was the obliteration of a neighborhood with little industrial development.

Same applies to the wiping out of “Little Canada ” many tenements on or around Aiken, Austin, Cheever, Hall, Tucker, Ward, Ford, Decatur, Race, Merrimack and Moody Streets were all taken by the LRA and many of those streets no longer exist. All taken by eminent domain.

In 2004 the City Council and City Manager Cox used eminent domain to take existing businesses on Middlesex St.

Lowell eyes eminent-domain taking of building
Lowell (MA) Sun, 10/14/04
By Christopher Scott

Unable to come to an agreement with the property owner, the City Council this week unanimously gave City Manager John Cox authority to begin eminent-domain proceedings to acquire 65-87 Middlesex St., for a new city parking garage.

In a related development, councilors also voted to borrow more than $3 million to acquire another piece of property that would provide a crucial piece for an ambitious redevelopment plan.

City administrators haven’t divulged numbers. But The Sun has learned that the city was leaning toward offering the owner of the Middlesex Street parcel, where Barney’s Deli and several other small businesses are located, about $500,000. That number was based on real-estate appraisals.

But property owner Jim Gill, The Sun has learned, wasn’t willing to go below about $1 million.

Gill is represented by James Masterman, a well-known Boston lawyer who is considered an expert in eminent-domain law.

Byline: Rebecca Lipchitz

May 4–LOWELL, Mass. — Barney’s Delicatessen is closed for now, but don’t say goodbye just yet.

Barney’s is among several businesses displaced by the city’s plan to build a parking garage on Middlesex Street, and are now scrambling for new locations across the city.

Most of the shops at 65-87 Middlesex St. — including a Brazilian market, the Lowell Auto School, two Southeast Asian-owned businesses, a school that teaches English and the Central Market (African, Caribbean and Jamaican food) — remain open while they search for new space.

Jason Gauthier of Barney’s, however, closed the restaurant since his wife had a baby

At the same time the City also took more land for the Hamilton Canal!

Meanwhile, councilors voted to borrow $3.6 million to buy the Freudenberg Nonwovens plant on Jackson Street.

At nearly six acres, Freudenberg’s plant accounts for about a third of what city planners are calling the Hamilton Canal District, a 35-acre lot bounded roughly by the Lord Overpass, Middlesex and Central Streets and the Lower Pawtucket Canal.

If all goes as planned, within about a decade, the site will be home to 400,000 square feet of new, privately constructed commercial and retail space and as many as 1,000 new condominiums.

City Manager John Cox who is now the lawyer for 75 Arcand drive was heavily involved in this process again when City Manager in 2006 The city took the Appleton Mills and surrounding businesses for…The Hamilton Canal!

At issue is a nearly seven-acre swath of vacant lots and crumbling mill buildings deemed crucial to ambitious redevelopment plans for what city planners call the Hamilton Canal District. An August 2004 city appraisal of that section of the Appleton Mills valued it at no more than $1.7 million.

In 2011 the City Council took houses by eminent domain to build what is now the Howe Bridge!

LOWELL — A key component of the city’s efforts to move forward with a new Textile Memorial Bridge was the taking of two properties on Pawtucket Street for a right-of-way for the structure.

But with work set to begin later this summer on the project, one of the owners of the two properties the city took by eminent domain is still seeking more money from the city, The Sun has learned.

The city paid Arthur Faneros of Tewksbury $360,000 in July 2009 to take his residential property at 203-205 Pawtucket St. The city took 2,470 square feet of a property assessed by the city at $242,300 in fiscal 2009.

But in September 2009, Faneros filed suit against the city seeking more money for the property, and in recent weeks, legal representatives for Faneros have approached city officials asking for up to $80,000 more for his property, The Sun has learned.

So Lowell has a long history of taking land and taking occupied businesses for the greater good. It should not come off the table now especially by any councilor’s who were around and voted to use it back in 2004 or 2011.

I also highlight a major concern that I have repeatedly mentioned that has to be taken into consideration when there is talk of moving LHS out of the downtown.

Look at the history of the Hamilton Canal Project it started in 2004 and took more land in 2006 and here in 2017 we still have no new, privately constructed commercial and retail space and will not have as many as 1,000 new condominiums any time soon.

This is all build from scratch with none of the restrictions that would come with developing the Kirk St site. Three different developers quoted in yesterday’s Sun had some different views but all agreed on one thing

All the developers agreed, however, that any effort to transform the high school property is complicated by historic restrictions. The school straddles the Lowell National Historic Park and Preservation District and the City Hall Historic District.

The older of the two main buildings, on Kirk Street, is listed on both the national and state registers of historic places. It could be repurposed for any use — commercial, residential, etc. — but the structure would likely have to be renovated rather than torn down and built anew.

That will likely reduce the going price for the parcel and prompt any interested developers to ask for a healthy tax incentive.

“That’s going to restrict the value greatly, people want to build what they want to build,” Lupoli said.

So I am concerned about leaving another very large piece of real estate empty especially when you look at the history of the Hamilton Canal. I’m also concerned about more empty storefronts if the High School is gone.

Let’s make sure we leave all options open and get all the required data before we entrench ourselves on any one option.

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