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July 11, 2014

Fashion center moves ahead

Amesbury City Council OKs zoning change for Golden Triangle

AMESBURY — The next step in the development of the Golden Triangle began Tuesday evening after the City Council voted unanimously to adopt a new Commercial Fashion Center Overlay District (CFCOD) that has the potential to create what city planner Nipun Jain called a “world-class fashion center.”

“It is always good to see your hard work come to fruition,” Jain said.

“This has been an Achilles heel for the city, how do you develop the Golden Triangle? Over time there have been economic cycles. When the developers were there, the economic cycle was down and when the economic cycle was up, the developer wasn’t there,” he said.

“Now we want to capitalize on the upswing in the economy to really do whatever we can to capitalize. So we are very excited.”

Working alongside Mayor Ken Gray and director of Community & Economic Development Bill Scott for the past seven months, Jain helped to develop guidelines relating to the appearance, form and function of a potential commercial development within the Golden Triangle area that sits in the confluence of I-95, I-495 and Route 110.

Gray and Scott also saw an opportunity in the commercial fashion industry based upon location and the fact that clothing under $175 is not taxed in Massachusetts.

“What is really the incentive is that it is going to be clothing and clothing accessories related (businesses,)” Jain said. “So you are not going to be getting the Walmart or Best Buy or the big-box stores. It is really high-end fashion that has been targeted.

“The example is the Wrentham Mall and there is one in Merrimac. A smaller version exists, but it is not so much what this would be in Salem, N.H., so it is a very focused effort to look at what works best from the regional draw, the economic basis and what works and complements what already exists in Amesbury.”

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