Unity Redevelopment Project Off the Council Agenda for Monday

Lowell City Council was expected to vote on a resolution next week to allow a redevelopment project for the site of the former Unity High School to move forward. However, when the city council packet was released today, the resolution wasn’t listed on the meeting agenda.

Lowell’s First Look reached out to City Manager Mike Burns and developers Todd Schaal and Jerry Zandstra for an update on the status of the project. As of this writing, Burns has not responded, but Zandstra replied with a single sentence: “We can only refer you to the city manager and attorney.”

The developers’ proposal to redevelop a former bus garage into condominiums has received wide support from community members and local leaders. But some have questioned the absence of an overall site plan for the project, whether the city has been doing enough to protect access to the boat launch on the Flat River and whether there should be more effort to acquire a parcel of land adjoining the library.

If the city and developers reach an impasse, it wouldn’t be the first time a promising project has fallen through for Zandstra. At one time, the developer hoped to acquire Steelcase’s iconic pyramid building to transform it into an education hub.

While his Pyramid Campus Group entered into an agreement to buy the building for $7.5 million in 2014, the deal fell through the following year. The Education Campus Investors, LLC, led by Zandstra, then sued Steelcase in an attempt to force the company to sell the property for $3 million. That case was dismissed by the court.

This is a developing story. Lowell’s First Look will publish additional information on the status of this project as it becomes available.

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