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An aerial view of the former Western Electric plant in North Andover.
Correction: An earlier headline on this story suggested Methuen has joined the coalition of communities trying to bring Amazon to the Merrimack Valley. As the story indicates, Methuen has been invited to join.
The parking lots could once again be full at what was once the Merrimack Valley Works of Western Electric as officials eye it as the hub of a future Amazon headquarters.
Ozzy Properties, owner of the sprawling North Andover property received word Wednesday afternoon the site could be the centerpiece of a proposal to lure Amazon’s second national headquarters to the Valley.
“We have a lot of land and could easily construct a new facility. I don’t know the specs of the building they want, but rents in North Andover are a heck of a lot better than Kendall Square,” Ellen Keller, Ozzy’s vice president of commercial real estate, told WHAV. Keller explained the company received a telephone call about the potential from the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission—the regional agency spearheading the multi-community Amazon pitch.
Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini said he was present when the call was made to Ozzy Properties.
“That would certainly be one of the sites that would be absolutely awesome for this,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Merrimack Valley coalition, which already included Haverhill, North Andover and Lawrence, invited Methuen and Andover to join Wednesday, Fiorentini said. He explained the thread connecting all of these communities is the railroad.
Admitting the area’s pitch might fall short, the mayor said, the marketing effort surrounding the proposal is already helping the Merrimack Valley.
“No matter what happens, we’re already generating a buzz in this area with real estate brokers calling WHAV, calling our office, calling Ozzy Properties, with people interested. We want to tell people about the $200 million in new investment in downtown Haverhill. We want to tell people about the best restaurant zone in Haverhill, north of the North End with 22 great restaurants. We want to tell people about the waterfront dining here in the City of Haverhill. We want to tell the people about that. This is our chance to sell Haverhill and our chance to sell the region.”
While Ozzy Properties was already aware of the Amazon search, Keller said, the company has been focused on its Valley Green Grow proposal. That plan is to develop a medical cannabis research and cultivation operation.
Keller told WHAV the suggestion for her property was forwarded to the property’s owners for evaluation. “Everyone is excited. It would be just an extraordinary win for the Valley. Just phenomenal,” she added.
The former Western Electric plant is a 157-acre campus with more than two million square feet of space. Ozzy properties purchased it in 2003.
After 9:28pm on Wednesday September 20th, 2017 this article available to WHAV members only.
Published at Thu, 14 Sep 2017 04:05:15 +0000