As Haverhill's business parks draw new companies, eating up available space, the city is being forced to find creative ways to fit in new tenants.
Officials say it’s a good problem to have because the city has lured companies such as Amazon and Monogram Foods, which will bring hundreds of jobs and pad the tax base.
But that success leaves a space crunch. The solution is to build upward — encouraging business parks to construct taller buildings, creating additional space on upper floors, officials say.
City Planning Director William Pillsbury calls it “densification,” a concept included in Haverhill’s relatively new master plan. That plan is the blueprint for development across the city for the next 15 years.
“When we did our master plan, we allowed for the idea of densifying our business parks,” Pillsbury said. “Someone might want to take a single story and build up or create a larger footprint requiring less parking.’’
Pillsbury said one commercial property in the Ward Hill Business Park that is changing hands is expected to expand its footprint according to the city’s master plan concept.
The master plan approved last year includes zoning changes allowing commercial uses on upper floors of business park buildings, increased building heights and reduced parking requirements. Called Vision Haverhill 2035, the nearly 90-page update to the plan is a guide for managing both commercial and residential growth.
Recent additions to Haverhill's business parks include plans by Monogram Foods, Edwards Vacuum company, Amazon and Howland Development Company to settle here. Each of those companies plans to build a large complex in the Broadway Business Park, which will be nearly at capacity after the companies move in, city officials said.
The Ward Hill Business Park is nearly full after a big expansion of the Cedar Mediterranean Foods plant last year. The Hilldale Business Park is about 75 percent full. It’s now home to the New England Tractor Trailer Training School and is making plans to welcome Apache Trucking company of North Andover.
Pillsbury said the city is experiencing tremendous growth in its business parks, despite an economy that continues to struggle from the effects of the pandemic.
“We’re very bullish on what’s happening to all of our industries in Haverhill,” Pillsbury said. “The good news is Haverhill is a hot place for industry, and along with it comes an opportunity for jobs across the spectrum.”
He said Mayor James Fiorentini and City Council opened the door to recent growth in the Broadway and Hilldale business parks by putting infrastructure such as water and sewer service in place.
“Now we’re seeing the fulfillment of that,” he said.
Haverhill has four business parks: large parks on Ward Hill, Broadway (Route 97) and Hilldale Avenue, and a smaller park on Newark Street which Pillsbury said is just about full.
Apache Trucking company President Daya Singh said he plans to move his business from 1600 Osgood St. in North Andover to a 10-acre site he bought at 6 Fondi Road in Haverhill’s Hilldale Business Park. The North Andover location was also home to New England Tractor Trailer Training School before it moved to Haverhill.
Apache Trucking is a family-owned business specializing in the transportation of refrigerated food products across the northeast United States.
Singh said his site in Haverhill will include 7,500 feet of office space and parking for his fleet of trucks. It should be open in June or July, he said.
“We’re the largest food hauler in this region, with more than 45 trucks,” he said, noting his company hauls for Market Basket, Stop & Shop and Poland Spring, and is the exclusive hauler for Restaurant Depot. He said his company also hauls live lobster and fresh-caught sushi-quality tuna from Boston to New York’s JFK International Airport for delivery to overseas customers.
The Broadway Business Park is poised to receive its four new commercial businesses, Pillsbury said. He said Howland Development Company of Wilmington plans to build a 140,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution facility in the park. The Howland company has not yet identified its tenants, Pillsbury said.
“Broadway (Business Park) is just about full, but there is the potential for one small development piece left,” he said.
Paradigm Properties plans to construct a 128,000-square-foot one-story building in the Broadway park to be leased by Monogram Foods, which is expected to bring about 350 jobs to Haverhill, city officials said. The Tennessee-based company produces nationally-known foods such as Wild Bill’s Beef Jerky and Johnsonville products.
Dacon Corporation of Natick plans to construct a 121,800-square-foot building in the Broadway park for Edwards Vacuum, a developer and manufacturer of sophisticated vacuum products, exhaust management systems and related services. Edwards Vacuum plans to open an innovation center in the summer of 2022, bringing as many as 250 jobs, many of them high-paid scientist and engineering positions, the mayor said.
Amazon plans to open a 142,000-square-foot distribution center in the Broadway park as part of the e-commerce giant’s “last mile” fulfillment program. Fiorentini said he expects Amazon will bring 150 jobs to the site, which was formerly occupied by the Southwick clothing company and before that was a Lowe’s home improvement store.
Pillsbury said another company is interested in moving to the Hilldale Business Park, which is experiencing an increase in occupancy after Haverhill extended water and sewer service to that northern stretch of Hilldale Avenue near the Atkinson line. He said details about that company’s move are not ready to be announced.