Perseverance produces disappointment when it’s based on false pretenses.

This seems to be the guiding theme of the NRA.

And, by the way, I’m not just talking about the Waterfront.      It’s very institution was created to handle the downtown based on a concept of urban planning that history and truth has born out to be false.

The original goal was to sweep away all that old history and put in the newest, most modern state-of-the-art* buildings.      

Haverhill did that and not only did it kill their downtown, it ripped out the very soul of their city.

Merrimack LandingAnother example closer to home was Lot 8 in Newburyport which was to have a “contemporary” building.      After much fighting and pushing by Byron Matthews and the NRA it became Merrimack Landingt.     Which, even though it is surrounded by historic buildings, refuses to generate the foot traffic that the restored Firehouse and the historic downtown produces.       The NRA’s successful implementation has given us a large building with disappointing results based on a false pretense.      If they had continued the architectural theme of the rest of the downtown, that building would be humming with success today.     Now it’s a lonely step child dying for more foot traffic.

Another example of bad assumptions, the Newburyport Area Industrial Development based its whole existence upon the false pretense of being the replacement of the closed factories in town.      It’s industrial park has never accomplished this – no real jobs for the locals and no financial salvation for the city.        And now they must compete on the global market making the industrial area even weaker still.         All based on bad assumptions, fueled by an enthusiastic resolve and generating disappointing tax revenues and few jobs for the locals.

Now, the NRA has put forth another false idea: we must build buildings to pay for the park and rejuvenate the downtown.       Like religious fanatics, they chant this mantra without real numbers to base it upon or proof that anything they propose will translate into achieving those goals.   All the while ignoring the reality that the downtown is already rejuvenated.        

So what if they are successful?      What if COW supporters fail to take them to court and they plow ahead and build these structures?

What if they get all their hearts desire and there are shops and three buildings.   Perhaps later a garage and hotel down the street.     The banks pour out the money, the contractors build and the “for rent” signs go up for tenants.

Pickering Wharf**

Perseverance produces disappointment when it’s based on false pretenses.

-P. Preservationist

t Constructed in the mid-1980s as a contemporary mixed-use building with retail on the first floor, offices on the second floor and residential above.

* The trouble with “state-of-the-art” once it’s been done it’s obsolete, replaced by the next state-of-the-art i.e. 1970’s idea of “contemporary”.

** A huge financial failure for Salem, MA – contemporary looking shops and a food court and nearby a garage and waterfront hotel.        The shops, when they are occupied, are often short-term due to low foot-traffic, restaurants come and go and the vast majority of visitors bypass for the more historic areas of the city.       When it was initially built, it was hailed as the salvation for an increasingly dilapidated waterfront.      The hotel has no aesthetic look to it and looks more like a box-motel by a superhighway.      Most visitors head for the Peabody-Essex Museum and the shops nearby or walk around it to Derby Wharf and the House of the Seven Gables.        Ever since the urban planners persisted on putting it in, Salem has been regretting it, disappointed by its tax revenues and enviously eyeing Newburyport and its present success!

Pickering Wharf

This entry was posted in Art & Culture, Businesses, Demolitions, Developers, Downtown, Economics, Education, Health and wellness, Historic Demolitions, Organizations, Planning, Renovation, Restoration, Streetscapes, Tourism, Waterfront. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Stubbornness

  1. Port Sanity says:

    False pretenses indeed. Equating the NRA proposal to Merrimack Landing, implying that today’s NRA is anything like the NRA of yesteryear, invoking Pickering Wharf as though that’s what the NRA proposal would result in, and stating that the NRA has not presented real numbers on which their proposal is based … ALL false pretenses! Claiming you desire more tourism to support Newburyport and opposing improvement to our waterfront with a bigger, better park and improvements to parking lots that are a true embarrassment. Feigning concern for rising property taxes while supporting plans for the waterfront that even COW admits will result in tax increases. Plans that could be self funding. Those are the false pretenses upon which you base your position.

    False pretenses, indeed.

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