Taking the First Step toward a Revitalized Lynn Waterfront
Construction is ongoing for Breakwater, a new walkable, transit-oriented neighborhood that will feature a welcoming new resilient waterfront park and extension of the Lynn Harborwalk.
Located within a five-minute walk from the MBTA commuter rail station, Breakwater is the first development project to be implemented as part of the planned transformation of Lynn’s industrial waterfront into a vibrant, publicly accessible open space.
This ambitious project began with remediation of the 8.5-acre industrial site (a former car dealership), which had been abandoned for three decades, to allow for the design of a new transit-oriented, multi-family development providing 331 market-rate apartments and a two-acre waterfront park overlooking Lynn Harbor.
Working in collaboration with Lynn Redevelopment LLC, HDS Architecture, and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), Halvorson | Tighe & Bond Studio developed the site and landscape design and assisted with permitting for the project.
The development features a pair of residential buildings offering views of the water and the Boston skyline. Amenity decks provide a series of gathering spaces with pergolas, firepits, barbecue stations, flexible seating, a communal green space, colorful plantings, and a rooftop reflective pool with lounge seating.
A publicly accessible harbor walk traverses the site, connecting the Lynn Heritage State Park to the Clocktower Business Center on the Lynnway.
Residents and visitors will be welcomed to the site via a meandering harborwalk with naturalistic planting, sculptural landforms, and site features constructed of reclaimed portions of the former granite seawall. Three scenic overlooks and a children’s playground, designed in coordination with DCR, complement the restful strolling experience offered by the park.
Striving for sustainability on multiple levels, the site design features permeable paving, LED lighting, and an extensive native plant palette.
The resilient site design was developed to manage flooding as a result of sea level rise and storm surges, with open lower-level parking, topography shaped to allow flood retreat, and tree planting at elevations above the flood level. Halvorson’s landscape design positions the site grading and sculptural landforms to protect inland assets from storm surge and extreme coastal events while allowing stormwater to return to the harbor.
The site includes a new coastal bank and revetment, which was completed in 2020 and will include beach grasses planted in the voids of the structural blocks.
Creating a Cultural Gem in Lynn’s Thriving Arts District
As part of a cooperative effort between the City of Lynn, DCR, and the Breakwater development team, which has resulted in a new waterfront park and expansion of the harborwalk, Halvorson has revitalized an underused open space to create a pocket park in the heart of Lynn’s thriving arts district, which in recent years has welcomed internationally-acclaimed muralists and artistic light feature installations.
Recognizing to opportunity to create a new community asset that celebrates the culture and heritage of Lynn, the redesign of the Exchange Street Park uses the “Stories of Lynn” mural by David Fichter, Yetti Frenkel, and Joshua Winer as its focal point. Halvorson’s design takes inspiration from its colorful backdrop, centering the raised performance stage under the mural’s “trompe l’oeil’ archway and extending the curve to the ground plane in the form of a new circular lawn and paths.
The park features a multi-use lawn, edged by brick walkways, seating, and colorful plantings as well as seatwalls along the street edge that use reclaimed granite unearthed as part of a nearby project on the Lynn waterfront. To tie thematically with the adjacent park space owned by the Lynn Heritage Museum, Halvorson used the same palette of materials (brick paths, historic benches, and lighting) as those found next door.
In a nod to the city’s history, a sculpture of Frederick Douglass, who lived in Lynn for several years, is also planned. The City hopes the reimagined park will serve as a companion to the museum’s open space, hosting a variety of performances and other community events to further enrich and add vibrancy to downtown Lynn.