Community Spotlight- Newburyport, Massachusetts 

September 9, 2022 9:52 am

The North Shore Alliance, or the “Alliance,” prides itself on supporting economic development initiatives across the 30 communities and four Gateway Cities of the North Shore of Massachusetts. Each month we will be conducting a community highlight. We will be taking a look at some of these communities, where they stand economically, and highlight commercial development sites that may be of interest to our readers. 

This month we will be taking a closer look at the town of Newburyport, Massachusetts, a coastal city just 35 miles north of Boston. 

Newburyport, MA

A Little Background on Newburyport, MA

Newburyport is home to a historic and picturesque seaport, as it is located on the southern bank of the Merrimack River where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean. In addition to its maritime history, Newburyport has a vibrant downtown shopping district with a wide variety of shops, pubs, and restaurants. These businesses surround Market Square and along State Street making downtown a wonderful place to shop, eat, and catch amazing vistas of the ocean.

Along with being a beautiful place to live, Newburyport hosts many organizations from commercial and industrial businesses to nonprofits and small mom-and-pop shops. All of these pieces combined make Newburyport a “must-visit” tourist destination as well as a perfect place to call home. 

Historically speaking, Newburyport was once inhabited by the Pawtucket Indians and was initially settled in 1635 as part of the Newberry Plantation. Being situated near the mouth of the Merrimack River, it was once a fishing, shipbuilding, and shipping center, with industry in silverware manufacture. 

According to the Newburyport Chamber of Commerce, “Vessels from all over the world registered their cargoes with the port surveyor at the Custom House of Newburyport. They brought cloth goods and hardware from Liverpool, wine from Madeira, gunpowder from St. Petersburg, and molasses and sugar from the West Indies. Ships built in Newburyport brought much wealth and prestige to their owners.”

In 1811, a catastrophic fire leveled the downtown. Thankfully, the city was rebuilt using thebeautiful brick facades that you can still see all around the downtown area today. By 1851, the city annexed Newbury portions and incorporated them into a city.

The Economy of Newburyport, MA 

Newburyport has a rich economic history with origins in fishing, shipping, and other maritime trades which have evolved and continue to the present.

The City of Newburyport is served by four primary commercial districts: Downtown, the Business Park, the Storey Avenue Area, and the Route 1/Traffic Circle. The downtown area hosts a large number of retail businesses, shops, restaurants, hospitality organizations, and professional offices. 

The Newburyport Business and Industrial Park hosts more than 80 manufacturing businesses as well as a small number of professional service offices, clean energy uses, and two microbreweries. The Route 1 traffic circle area hosts mixed used professional buildings, commercial and some industrial buildings adding to the already strong economy of the region.