Business & Tech

Lynn commuter rail station to be open to public as 1,200 new apartments are built there

LYNN, MA - 3/04/2016: The GE train station in Lynn. It's a modest, private stop for employees only. Charlie Patsios, a developer, has bought the property on either side of the station, and got easements from GE. (David L Ryan/Globe Staff Photo) SECTION: BUSINESS TOPIC 07GEtrain(2)
David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
Charlie Patsios, a developer, has bought the property on either side of the GE train station in Lynn and gotten easements from GE.

State officials and a Swampscott-based developer reached a deal Friday to open Lynn’s Riverworks Commuter Rail station to the public and build about 1,200 apartments there.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation signed the agreement with Charlie Patsios, who has long planned to build a half-billion-dollar development on 65 acres next to the station, which currently is limited only to use by employees of a neighboring General Electric plant. Just a few dozen people board daily.

If Patsios’ project — which still needs financing — goes forward, MassDOT will open the station to general commuters, improving access to downtown Boston from the North Shore city.

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“This [agreement] represents exactly the kind of public-private partnership that creates a win-win for transportation and economic growth,” said Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack. “We are pleased at the developer’s commitment to paying for physical improvements at Riverworks Station.”

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Along with upgrades to the station and platforms, Patsios will fund a new bus station and provide 80 parking spaces. Patsios said he’s eager to get started, and aims to start demolition on the site within a month.

“In order to have transit-oriented development you have to have access to transit,” he said. “This will be a tremendous opportunity for the state, the city of Lynn and this particular site.”

Tim Logan can be reached at tim.logan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @bytimlogan.