SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

December 27, 2013

Condos planned at Salem Jail

Developer intends to construct new three-story building

BY TOM DALTON
STAFF WRITER

---- — SALEM — The Boston developers who transformed the old Salem Jail from a crumbling complex enclosed by razor wire into upscale housing with a restaurant are moving ahead on the second phase of the project.

New Boston Ventures appeared before a city board last week to announce plans to construct a three-story building at the jail site on St. Peter Street. They hope to start construction in the spring.

The 12 new residences will be sold as condominiums, something the developer had hoped to do in 2010 with the 23 residences built inside the jail, a jailer’s house and a replica carriage house/ barn.

“The economics at the time didn’t work out,” said David Goldman, a principal with New Boston Ventures.

After a downturn in the economy and a collapse in the real estate market, New Boston Ventures had to find creative ways to keep the project alive, which meant securing historic preservation tax credits to help finance the project. As a result, 50 St. Peter Street, as the development is called, was marketed as apartments, a designation that will remain in effect for five years.

It also meant putting Phase II, the new construction, on hold.

Today, with the economy improving, seemed a good time to move ahead with the new building, Goldman said.

The dozen condos will be mostly two- and three-bedroom residences, which are expected to be marketed for more than $400,000, he said.

“The interiors will be modern, very contemporary,” Goldman said.

The developer’s architect, LABhaus, appeared before the Design Review Board last week to go over the plans, which have changed since the original drawings were approved several years ago. The new design has large windows and a “civic” look, officials said.

“We were basically taking our cues from the jail,” said Sara-Ann Logan of LABhaus.

New Boston Ventures expects to open the new building in 2015.

The original 1813 jail building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. After closing in 1991, the jail remained vacant until renovations began in 2009.

The first phase of the housing redevelopment, designed by Finegold Alexander & Assoc., won national, state and local awards.

Tom Dalton can be reached at tdalton@salemnews.com.