, Newburyport, MA

NRA Waterfront Plans

September 12, 2012

Newburyport Redevelopment Authority: A timeline


1980: Appeals Court ruling finds partly in favor of Friends, saying 2 wayes legally exist but do not extend all the way to waterfront. To prevent further appeals, the NRA and Friends sign an agreement that allows for 6 wayes to be preserved.

1981: NRA begins accepting another round of proposals. A plan is picked to build a 150-room hotel, 76 condos and retail space. Over the next few years, the plan changes and faces legal hurdles, but continues to move forward.

1984: In a controversial decision, NRA votes to allow some of its vacant land to be used for parking, temporarily. The lots are still used for parking today.

1984: Some of the NRA's land is used to create the grassy Market Landing Park, complementing the boardwalk. Ownership of the park and boardwalk is eventually turned over to the Waterfront Trust.

1985: Mayor Sullivan announces that he expects hotel to break ground soon. However, within a few months developers are unable to get financing, and deal falls apart.

1986: NRA asked for another round of proposals, it receives 9 responses.

1987: NRA picks Roger Foster's plan for an 80-room hotel on west end of NRA land, and 7 commercial buildings on east end. Foster is well-known in Newburyport; he owns several downtown buildings.

1987: Voters elect pro-development mayor Ed Molin, but a non-binding referendum shows 75 percent of residents want an "open waterfront." 

1988: Foster reduces his plan in reaction to referendum. He proposes hotel and conference center for east end of NRA land. 

1989: Foster is granted permits by Board of Appeals. Group called Committee for an Open Waterfront forms, files appeals.

1992: In midst of real estate downturn, Foster files for bankruptcy protection but still keeps hotel plans ongoing. Foster sells some of his downtown buildings to Charles Lagasse. Over the next several years, Lagasse would add to his holdings, and in 2005 sells it to Steven Karp. Karp expands holdings even further, and now owns waterfront on either side of NRA land.

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NRA Waterfront Plans

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NRA Waterfront Plans