IVAN S. CHOW ARCHITECT

 

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"One Approach to a Downtown master plan for Lynn, Massachusetts" - Designed and written by Ivan Chow, Senior Vice President, Oasis Development Enterprises, Inc., 2001.

 

 

A NEW VISION FOR LYNN

The City of The Future

 

As the Lynn community move forward toward the inevitable revitalization of the downtown area, and in the midst of many great ideas of how this can happen, Oasis Development Enterprises makes yet another contribution.

 

 

A New Image is Needed

 

The rebirth of a new image for Lynn has long been recognized by both city officials and the business community. Nagging tag-lines are no longer acceptable expressions of a morbid past. What is needed more than ever before is the re-imaging of a city fully equipped and prepared for the 21st century.

 

The development of this new image for Lynn lies not in the effort of one person, entity or agency. This is a community-wide responsibility. The success of the downtown revitalization depends heavily on the progressive, forward-thinking, optimistic attitudes that characterize some of the more effective revitalization case-studies we have come across.

 

While some efforts are in the physical arenas of planning, development and building improvement, other efforts are needed:

  • A vision for the future that embodies both a quality-of-life component as well as a business-success model.

  • A downtown Master Plan that dramatically looks to create distinction while plotting a realistic path towards the end result.

  • A street beautification strategy that enhances a district, not merely individual streets. 

  • A long-term marketing effort backed by dollars and staffing which reverses the worn image of Lynn, and is based on some amenity, quality or attraction unique to this City.

  • A downtown housing strategy that provides safety and incentives to living in the center of town.

  • An aggressive business-development incentive plan that encourages and assists businesses toward inception and success.

Many of these efforts are already in place and backed by hard-working, experienced city staff and business leaders. These efforts should be applauded, encouraged and unified whenever possible and productive.

 

 

Oasis Development Enterprises, as a committed, local and private real estate company, is deeply invested in the inner-city of Lynn because we believe in its potential as both a business enterprise region, but as a potentially great place to live and work. We have for years subscribed to many of the basic tenets put forth by Michael Porter of the Harvard Business School and the ICIC (Initiative for a Competitive Inner City).  However, we recognize that renewal requires a unique combination of commitment and innovation. 

 

Commitment: A term well-worn phrase in design studios of some of the best design & planning schools in the country that describes this commitment in relation to great success: ''stick-to-itiveness''. 

 

Innovation: The demand for constant evolution of design, development, financing, investment structuring and business development, has always been something the founders and staff of Oasis have strived to maintain and encourage. It is this innovation and vision that launched Goldblock, and it is this same drive that offers the following thoughts and images. 

 

 

Two fundamental propositions form the basis for the proposed master plan.  

 

1.  Lynn is in need of an amenity or attraction to establish its mark on the urban landscape of the Greater Boston area. 

 

2. Lynn needs to establish destination centers connected by corridors of development activity along and from which further revitalization will radiate.

 

      

 

This master plan establishes three destination centers within the downtown area connected by streets that bear a special or historical quality.  The first destination we have coined the ''Sky Tower Gateway,'' which is located at the confluence of Market Street and Union Street at the Lynnway. 

 

Skytower-colorsketch.jpg (211052 bytes)This strategic location forms a natural gateway into the city of Lynn, which we believe can and should be developed into a major retail destination and convention center consisting of retail shops, office space, a major theatre complex, convention center and hotel as well as potential expansion space for North Shore Community College.

 

Rising above this complex would be a major design feature we call the Gateway Sky Tower, a 2,000 foot observation-communications tower which would mark the entrance to Lynn and be seen from Boston and the surrounding region as a symbol of the City's rebirth.  At the base of the Sky Tower would be a major traffic rotary,  480 feet in diameter, that would allow three lanes of traffic and street parking. This rotary serves both as the symbolic gateway and a ''hub'' from which two major development corridors - Market Street and Union Street - would radiate and be connected by a third corridor - Washington Street.

 

The first development corridor - Market Street - would lead directly to the heart of a new government center, where City Hall  is now located. The new City Hall Plaza would comprise a great open public square, a major performing arts complex, retail shops and restaurants and a new multi-story parking garage.  Surrounding the Plaza and within government center would be other public buildings such as the courthouse, the new police station and other government offices.

 

 

  CityHallPlz-aerial_dist.jpg (326136 bytes)  CityHallPlz-colorsketch.jpg (273519 bytes)  

 

A second corridor - Union Street - lends itself to a more pedestrian-friendly environment.  We see it lined with boutique shops, a variety of ethnic restaurants, people-friendly public spaces, offices and upper level residential units, leading up to the third destination development - Union Square.

 

 

UnionSqPlz-colorplan.jpg (158510 bytes)  UnionSqOfc-colorsketch.jpg (235359 bytes)

 

Union Square is envisioned as an urban public plaza surrounded by urban storefronts and offices, unique restaurants, all serving a  major office development complex, possibly along Smith Street or School Street. This plaza would also a community gathering place for the many residents to the east of town.

 

The third corridor is Washington Street. Now formed by a loose connection of short diagonal street sections in-filled by miscellaneous businesses and vacant lots and abandoned buildings, we see this developing into a ''backstreet'' commercial corridor, filled with street vendors, night markets, restaurants, as well as activity squares allowing a variety of multi-cultural events and expressions.

 

Enclosed within the boundaries of this conceptual downtown ''triangle'' (Market, Union and Washington Streets) lies a region of significant development potential.  At the core of this area is the Lynn CyberDistrict, which seeks to build upon the current high-speed Internet access provided by a fiber-optic network running through the heart of the City. Supporting this development effort is our Goldblock Development Project, a 115,000 square foot commercial project of which 25,000 square feet has recently been completed. 

 

 

In conclusion, while much of what we have presented may seem fanciful, we believe that, in the words of a great prophet - ''without vision, men will perish.'' We also believe, alongside many of our City leaders,  that it is time for Lynn to decisively rebuilt her image through a major marketing campaign and the formation on an unprecedented private-public coalition of forward thinking community leaders that will drive the downtown towards revitalization.

 

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