USA. Master developer sought for mixed use Hamilton Canal development in Lovell

Tuesday, 11 July 2006

The City of Lowell is currently accepting qualifications for the development of the Hamilton Canal District, a fifteen acre parcel of land located at the gateway to Lowell's downtown. The City is seeking a master developer team to purchase, design, and implement the project which will result in the creation of a vibrant new mixed-use neighborhood. The project will include up to 1,000 new condominiums and at least 65,000 square feet of new commercial space.

The Hamilton Canal District is located at the confluence of four canals between Middlesex Street, Dutton Street, the National Park Visitor Center, Revere Street and Jackson Street. The Hamilton, Western, Merrimack and Pawtucket Canals will form a magnificent waterfront backdrop for this retail and residential development. In addition to the creation of a new neighborhood, the city is also looking to transform the primary gateway to Lowell by connecting the transportation hubs at the Gallagher Terminal and Lowell Connector with the center of downtown.

"This is an extremely attractive project for developers," says Adam Baacke, Deputy Director of the City of Lowell's Division of Planning and Development. "Not only will they be contributing to Lowell's history through the creation of a new neighborhood, but they'll also be a part of one of the state's most unusual development projects."

The Hamilton Canal project is certainly unique. Lowell has eliminated all the major impediments typically associated with large urban redevelopment projects including land assembly, site clean-up, and permitting. By addressing these issues, Lowell has leveled the playing field between an urban site and the typical undeveloped greenfield site on the suburban fringe. The scales tip dramatically in favor of the Hamilton Canal District when one considers that the City will welcome high residential densities along with substantial commercial development, all served by excellent transit and highway access and existing utility infrastructure.

"Lowell has a proven track record of cooperating with quality downtown development projects," says Lowell Mayor, William F. Martin Jr. "We're confident that this will be the best yet and we expect a swift approval process."

A Streamlined Permitting Process

The City of Lowell is committed to actively partnering with the selected master developer through an expedited permitting process that minimizes entitlement risk and procedural delays. The centerpiece of this process will be a design of a weeklong planning and design Charrette led by the Master Developer team. The Charrette will be used to produce a Master Plan and form- based code for the project that achieves the stated project objectives and ensures meaningful public and stakeholder participation within a dramatically shortened period. The City will then fully entitle the Master Plan through adoption of the form-based code as the zoning for the Hamilton Canal District, eliminating the need for site plan review, special permits, or additional public hearings before the Planning and Zoning Boards. This Charrette-driven entitlement process will replace the complex permitting regimens that can often take years for large-scale development projects.

Land Assembly

The City has pre-assembled an approximately 15-acre parcel of land within a ten-minute walk from a commuter rail station, immediately adjacent to Downtown Lowell. Lowell has been working for three years to assemble this site from more than twenty parcels of land using a combination of negotiations and eminent domain.

Site Clean Up

The City has also agreed to absorb the risks associated with potential site contamination, which often complicate urban development sites. The City will either complete any required remediation directly or absorb the costs of clean up through a reduction in the sale price of the property.

Time Line

The City of Lowell will be accepting qualifications packages for the project until August 15, 2006 at 1:00 PM. The master developer solicitation is currently available on-line at Upon review of the applicants, city officials will narrow the selection process to 3-5 finalists by the end of September. These candidates will be invited to submit more comprehensive proposals due in November. The city plans to select and announce the final candidate by the end of the calendar year. For more information contact The City of Lowell Division of Planning and Development at 978-970-4252.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 11 July 2006 )