GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Opinion

October 11, 2012

Editorial: Economic signals from Magnolia

The acquisition of the defunct and vacated Magnolia Reach property for $2.45 million and the commitment of the new ownership group to essentially take up the previous owner’s project and go forward with the already-permitted development plans for the 50-acre site is good news in more ways than one.

On the most basic level, of course, it means that the 21 duplexes initially pegged for the site can indeed go forward, and that the new Magnolia Reach Capital LLC sees a revitalized future for the Gloucester and Cape Ann housing market.

But that’s just part of an emerging, bigger picture that shows a level of investment and commitment that indeed signals an economic upturn in the local housing and construction front.

That’s because the revived Magnolia project is far from alone, with the $2 million Lupine Lane project, a 15 residential unit project at 160 Essex Ave., and the McNiff Company LLC’s plans for 10 units at the former Cape Ann Forge site at the end of Whittemore Street and Riverside Avenue in the works for Gloucester as well. And let’s not forget the acquisition – at long last — of the former Cape Ann Tool Company site in Rockport, where new owner Michael Rauseo’s new limited liability company is looking to go ahead with plans for 25 residential units that former owner Christopher Kaneb never converted as well.

It remains to be seen, of course, which of these projects finally become reality, and which ones ultimately succeed. And new Magnolia Reach principal Lawrence Smith, whose Restoration Capital parent company also developed The Village at West Gloucester, is admittedly picking up a tangled “mess” from a previous developer who never got beyond cutting a roadway to a single model home.

But his commitment and all of these other projects show a surge of investment into Gloucester and Cape Ann – and that has to be the kind of economic boost that’s been long overdue.

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