The Haverhill Renaissance

Upon his election in 2003, Mayor Fiorentini wasted no time in fulfilling his pledge to bring about a downtown renaissance in Haverhill.

Transit-oriented Housing Development

Mayor Fiorentini successfully rezoned the area of downtown that contained the abandoned shoe factories, and scheduled a developer’s conference that succeeded in bringing national development firms to the city. Haverhill became the first city in the State to take advantage of a new zoning law—the law is called Chapter 40R—that gave incentives to encourage transit oriented development.

He then attracted a national firm, Forest City, to redevelop the abandoned Hamel Leather Factory. Hamel Leather had once been the largest concrete shoe factory in the world, but had been largely abandoned for nearly half a century. Under Mayor Fiorentini’s leadership, the abandoned Hamel Leather Factory became Hamel Mills Lofts. At $70 million, Hamel Mills Lofts is the largest investment in the history of the city.

The River Walk Project

Mayor Fiorentini successfully obtained funding for the river walk project, which had been dormant for over 14 years, and led the city in constructing a river walk downtown.

Retail Stores and Parking

The City of Haverhill had been talking about downtown parking facility for nearly 30 years. Mayor Fiorentini traveled to Washington DC, and successfully lobbied our Congressional delegation to obtain $11 million in funding for the garage which is open downtown.

The Mayor was also determined to bring more retail stores to the city and led the city in rezoning areas of the city nearest to highways to attract more retail stores. The project successfully attracted the three largest retailers ever to come to the city, BJ’s, Target and Lowe’s.

For his efforts, Mayor Fiorentini was elected as the Chairperson of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Brownfield’s Association. He has been selected three times to speak at the Kennedy School at Harvard on what has become known as the “Haverhill Renaissance,” and was recently featured in a State wide television show Chronicle. In 2014, Mayor Fiorentini was chosen by his collegues to be President of MMaA.