John Michitson 2011 Haverhill City Council Candidate - Haverhill, Massachusetts (MA)  
Facebook is a registered trademark of Facebook, Inc.
Economic Development - John Michitson 2011 Haverhill City Council Candidate - Haverhill, Massachusetts (MA)
Michitson to Bring Economic Development and Jobs Mindset to City Council
City Council candidate John Michitson and Lisa Fitzpatrick, Property Manager, Kifor Development LLC, have been teaming to market downtown Haverhill directly to emerging and innovative businesses across the Merrimack Valley and Greater Boston with the goal to fill vacant commercial property and to create new jobs for all skill levels.

Their focus has been on developing at 143 Essex Street on the seventh floor a concept known as the “Burgess Business Center Incubator.” Established earlier this year to attract complementary businesses, the incubator enables tenants to rent office space, and share common areas such as a lounge, conference rooms and lunch area, while networking and sharing business ideas that are mutually beneficial.

Mr. Michitson's and Ms. Fitzpatrick's common goal is to establish a successful model and share results with other commercial property owners, so that the business district can collectively attract innovative businesses and ideas throughout the region. The long term intent is to create a feeder system to Haverhill's industrial parks and to have a ripple effect on the downtown's restaurants and other retail businesses

In June, they held an Open House, with Keynote speakers John Harthorne, Founder/CEO, Mass Challenge, Inc. and Nishith Acharya, Executive Director, The Deshpande Foundation, two of the key regional entrepreneurial organizations that Michitson and Fitzpatrick have been collaborating with. Michitson originally learned of the two organizations while attending MIT Sloan School of Management's globally renowned Entrprenuerial Development Program last year.

They have succeeded in proving the model. In a few short months, the incubator on the previous empty seventh floor has been filled with small, complementary businesses, including: Exultium, Setrix, Inc., Northeast Computer Services, Mindware Music, Advertising That Works and Attorney B. Michael Cormier. They join with long term tenant, who can provide tenants with wired/wireless service, server co-location, and generator backup, in addition to a direct broadband wireless link to Boston's new innovation district. This is a modest start, but expansion plans are in the works.

“The number one issue in America and for Haverhill is to attract business and to create jobs. I will frequently put economic development initiatives such as this on the agenda. I will work diligently with my colleagues, the Mayor, economic development director William Pillsbury, and the business community to reflect the importance of providing jobs and expanding the commercial tax base in downtown and industrial parks. Marketing the city of Haverhill to regional and Greater Boston business communities can be accomplished without a cost. Using Craig's List for advertising, a free on-line resource, has been a winner for Burgess Business Center,” said Michitson., North Andover, MA

September 17, 2009

Michitson: Downtown needs high-tech firms

Wants to develop feeder to city's industrial parks; spark job growth

By Shawn Regan

HAVERHILL — Mayoral candidate John Michitson said it's time for the city to take the next step in developing downtown into a diverse urban center that includes fledgling high-tech companies, specialty retail stores and condominiums, rather than just apartment complexes and restaurants.

Michitson said downtown buildings, such as the one owned by William Nofsker on Essex Street, offer some of the most affordable office space in the Merrimack Valley, and that the city needs a better marketing strategy to fill that space with companies that provide high-paying jobs.

“It would be a mistake to convert all our mill buildings to residential," said Michitson, a former City Council president. “Now that we have so much residential, we should be focusing on attracting innovative industries and more of a mix to drive business at shops and restaurants and to increase foot traffic. These are the kind of businesses that would attract workers with the ability to buy condos and not just (rent) apartments.”

Mayor James Fiorentini, Michitson's opponent in the Nov. 3 election, has focused on revitalizing downtown by converting old and mostly vacant factories into large rental developments, enhancing property along the Merrimack River and cultivating a restaurant district on Washington Street.

Under Fiorentini's watch, the massive Cordovan apartment complex opened two years ago and the even larger Hamel Mill Lofts is nearing completion, adding hundreds of rental units to downtown's residential stock. A third large apartment development by an affiliate of the Boston Archdiocese is planned later this year. The city also is in the final stages of building a new boardwalk along the river and construction is expected to begin in the spring on a trail on the Bradford side of the river and a large parking facility near the train station.

Referencing a market analysis commissioned by the Fiorentini administration in 2007, Michitson said downtown lacks major office space users and market-rate residential units, typically condominiums in urban settings.

Michitson's vision for downtown is that buildings like Nofsker's, which has more than 50,000 square feet of available industrial and office space, would serve as "feeder" sites for startup companies in areas such as renewable energy, pharmaceuticals, environmentally-friendly industries, robotics and non-hazardous biotechnology.

Those companies, as they grow, would later move to the city's industrial and business parks like the ones in Ward Hill and on Hilldale Avenue, Michitson said. Workers for those companies would be the kind of residents able to afford condominiums, he said.

Michitson said some of the companies he wants to attract downtown are already here, such as in the Nofsker building. That company, which started in the 1990s as a mom and pop dial-up Internet service provider, is now a regional wireless Internet provider with customers which include the Boston Public Library and several Massachusetts colleges, Michitson said.

“Downtown Haverhill is a no-brainer for startup companies to hold costs down,” he said.

Michitson said the city already has the work force for high-tech jobs — residents who commute daily to work by car or train to Boston, the South Shore and the Route 128 belt.

“There are many workers in Haverhill, like me, who would kill not to have to drive that far every day,” said Michitson, an engineer at MITRE Corp. in Lexington.

“It would be a real selling point to market the city as a place to live and work,” he said. "Given where we are today, this should be the next focus for the downtown.”

Michitson said downtown also needs more places to shop. He said it's unlikely the business district will ever flourish in that regard because of its proximity to New Hampshire where there is no sales tax, but he believes downtown could sustain a broader mix of retail shops. The best way to attract specialty shops downtown would be at a retail “incubator" that would house a variety of stores at one location, such as a large building on Washington or Merrimack Street, Michitson said.

“We have to build a rounded downtown community,” he said. “All these new homes that have been created in the last few years are going to bring kids even if they aren't supposed to, as well as increased demands on city services like police, parking and cleaning.”

Michitson said the city also should consider wiring downtown for publicly available wireless Internet service “so anyone can use their computers or BlackBerries to go online.”

“During the campaign I've been hearing lots of great ideas from people," he said. "I want to continue soliciting ideas like these from the public and see which work.”

Michitson and Fiorentini will face off in their second debate Oct. 28 at the Technology Center on the campus of Northern Essex Community College.
Contact  I  Legal  I  Privacy  I  Site Map
Copyright © 2013
The Committee to Elect John Michitson
119 Kenoza Street
Haverhill, MA 01830
  [ top ]