Smart Growth, as defined by Smart Growth America, is an approach to development that encourages a mix of building types and uses, diverse housing and transportation options, development within existing neighborhoods, and community engagement. Lupoli Companies has been on the forefront of Smart Growth Neighborhoods since 2003 when Sal Lupoli purchased his first mill building at Riverwalk and continues today with the redevelopment of Thorndike Exchange.
Riverwalk sits on 46-acres along the Merrimack River in Lawrence, MA. Nicknamed the “Immigrant City” and once a leading producer of textiles, Lawrence struggled to fill the abandoned mills that dotted the Merrimack River. By 2000, poverty in Lawrence was more than double the statewide average. But in 2003, entrepreneur Sal Lupoli, who was looking for a commissary for his successful pizza franchise, saw the potential in the Worsted Mill Complex – now known as Riverwalk. With the support of allies at the state and local levels, Lupoli purchased the complex and has since steadily transformed the 3.6 million square feet site into a thriving mixed use community. When others gave up on Lawrence, Sal doubled down by strategically targeting small businesses, offering high-quality, affordable space at Riverwalk. Focusing on renewable energy resources like solar and geothermal, Riverwalk takes advantage of energy efficiency and continues to invest in state-of-the-art technology. There are now more than 200 businesses and 200 residential apartments located at Riverwalk. What was once an eyesore is now one of the city’s most treasured assets.
Lupoli Companies has recently started the restoration of Thorndike Exchange in Lowell, MA which will undoubtedly be one of the largest revitalization projects in Lowell second only to The University of Massachusetts. Thorndike Exchange is at the forefront of a historic transformation of this turn of the century mill building into the leader in boutique urban living. Much like the forward-thinking vision of its past, Thorndike Exchange will offer an inspired environment where innovation will flourish and history will be made as we create a dynamic place to live, work and play. When completed Thorndike Exchange will be home to a thriving mix of new businesses, entrepreneurs, retail, restaurants and café’s and will create 300+ new jobs, thus providing an enormous stimulus to economic growth in this Gateway City. The project will also consist of 118 new luxury, urban-chic market rate apartments creating housing opportunities for the community at large.
Accessibility and transportation options are an important factor to smart growth developments. Riverwalk sits directly across the street from the McGovern Transportation Center that includes an MBTA commuter rail stop with direct access to Rtes. 495, 93 and 128. Thorndike is connected directly to the MBTA Commuter Rail through an elevated, covered walkway right to the train. Access to I-495, and Route 3 is just a football field away. Both sites also transform the structures original characteristics by breathing new life into the old buildings, while conserving resources and historic value.
Lupoli Companies transformation of old mills into thriving, sustainable mixed use urban developments is the definition of a smart growth that supports economic stimulation, strong communities and environmental health through its unique live-work-play environments that enriches the lives of its residents and community.