, Newburyport, MA

January 1, 2013

NRA to forge ahead with proposals for waterfront

By Dyke Hendrickson
Staff writer

---- — NEWBURYPORT — The Newburyport Redevelopment Authority will review a parking report and offer an update on a request for proposals for its waterfront property when it meets tomorrow night at 7 at the public library.

It is one of the few municipal meetings scheduled this holiday week. The next meeting of the City Council will be Monday, Jan. 14.

The five-member NRA is currently developing an RFP relating to a plan to construct two commercial buildings on the land it owns adjacent to the riverfront.

The process to develop an RFP has been delayed in part by a death in the family of NRA Chairman James Shanley.

In a recent interview, Shanley gave no firm date as to when the RFP would be made public and open to discussion, but he indicated he’d like it to be sooner rather than later.

The NRA is working with MassDevelopment, a state agency designed to generate jobs and economic growth, and Abramson & Associates, Inc., a real-estate consulting firm.

City officials will likely have some input into the NRA’s plans. Last year, Mayor Donna Holaday led a City Hall initiative to provide the NRA with half of its payment to MassDevelopment.

This gives city officials “a seat at the table” as plans develop, Holaday has said.

The NRA owns 4.2 acres of land on the riverfront, most of which is now used as parking lots.

It has proposed developing more parkland there, and in order to do so, it has proposed the two commercial buildings that would provide revenue for creating the park and providing for its upkeep.

The NRA, not the city, owns the land and has discretion on what will happen there in the future, municipal leaders say.