LYNN — The former site of the iconic Porthole restaurant is up for sale, and owners McGrath Realty are seeking a developer to turn the site at 98 Lynnway into a luxury condo complex, branded as Harbor98.
Two weeks ago, owner and founder of McGrath Realty Patrick McGrath put the site on the market for $20.5 million, approximately four years after he purchased the parcel from The Porthole’s owners in 2018.
McGrath is working alongside the Winchester-based real estate company The Synergy Group to market the future development as an 80-unit luxury condo complex featuring 156 parking spots, a cinema, and business center. Synergy Group owner Paul Cirignano said that the combined value of the future development’s 80 condos will add up to approximately $100 million.
“It’s probably going to be around $100 million. At the end of the day, all the prices of the condos ended up together approaching about 100,” Cirignano said.
Cirignano said that the nautical-style condo building, which he called a future “landmark” will match the Porthole’s iconoclasm.
“This is a landmark building for the North Shore. It’s almost nautical in its appearance. Almost looks like it’s a cruise ship sitting on land. I think it’s a Porthole vibe, just by the design of the building. There’s nothing even in Boston that would rival its design,” Cirignano said.
Although the luxury condominiums might not be affordable for most Lynn residents, Cirignano said, McGrath’s vision for the development centers around selling condominiums in a city where many residents rent.
“This is a high end, luxury ownership building. There’s so much happening in Lynn that is for rent. Now, this is gonna be luxury, so this might not hit all the demographics of Lynn, but with not a lot of condo options in town, he’s [McGrath’s] committed to his vision to build a condo building where people would have a chance to participate in homeownership, and all the gains and everything that comes with that, probably all that is coastal with a tremendous view,” Cirignano said.
Lynn United for Change Director Isaac Hodes said that he opposes the luxury condo development. He said that in order to include community members in Lynn, zoning regulations must be put in place that require on-site affordable housing.
“This is the kind of development that fuels segregation and inequality, and it’s another example of why we need inclusionary zoning that requires on-site affordable homes. People from all over the city used to go to the Porthole, I remember canning there for sports teams when I was younger. But over the past few years it’s been one luxury development after another on the waterfront, and if we don’t do something soon we’ll end up with an area that’s unwelcoming to most Lynn residents,” Hodes said. “It’s disgusting that the developers for this project found space in the project for an animal care center and pet washing room, but not a single affordable unit and only one home big enough for a larger family. The people of Lynn need homes we can afford and good jobs with benefits, and new development should help meet those needs.”
Cirignano said that the project is still awaiting Chapter 91 Waterfront Act approval as well as approval from the Department of Conservation and Recreation. In a written statement, McGrath said that he hopes to sell the project to the right developer, as it will make a great addition to the city’s waterfront.
“The proposed development we designed for Harbor98 is the perfect addition to Lynn Harbor,” McGrath said. “After four years of working with the City of Lynn and the state of Massachusetts to get this project approved, working with the engineers and architects to come up with the plans, and razing the previous property, the timing is no longer right for me and my team to build this development, but we’re optimistic that we can find a developer who will be the perfect fit.”
Anthony Cammalleri can be reached at [email protected].