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October 13, 2012

Riverside housing plan revived

Plans for Whittemore subdivision back on table

With the local real-estate market thawing, local developer Jay McNiff has rekindled plans for an up-to-10-unit subdivision on the former Cape Ann Forge site at the end of Whittemore Street and Riverside Avenue.

McNiff has filed preliminary plans with the city for a five-lot subdivision on the Annisquam River off Whittemore Street at the former Cape Ann Forge site.

He said Friday he plans for either single-family or duplex units in the project he’s called Anchorworks, but for now, he said, the project is still in its permitting adolescence.

McNiff said flickers of hope in the real-estate market have brought the Anchorworks project back to life. Those positive signals have included the acquisition and revived development plans for the 50-acre Magnolia Reach project, and the acquisition of Rockport’s former Cape Ann Tool Company site, with new owner Michael Rauseo looking to pick up the condominium and mixed-use plans for that site where former owner Christopher Kaneb left off.

”There’s some glimmer of hope out there, so we might as well continue permitting in a directed fashion,” McNiff said. “ There was no light at the end of the tunnel for a while.”

McNiff’s initial plan shows five duplex units on the crescent of land stretching from the train bridge to the intersection of Whittemore and Riverside. The site is the undeveloped part of the same lot on which the industrial development at the end of Whittemore Street was built.

His initial proposal called for two five-unit condominium buildings on the site. That presented a bit of a problem, McNiff said. With a project like that, McNiff said he’d have to build all units at once. By going the subdivision route, he said he can sell units piece by piece.

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