SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

October 9, 2013

City wants to buy vacant downtown building

PEABODY — The city is hoping to purchase the vacant, water-damaged building at 16-20 Lowell St., adjacent to City Hall with Chestnut Street between them.

Mayor Ted Bettencourt said the Richard S. and Lois M. Codair Trust has already agreed to sell the property for $180,000.

“We have a verbal agreement,” Bettencourt said, “but I can’t sign a purchase-and-sale without the City Council’s authorization.”

The mayor wants to tear the building down and said the lot could have “flood mitigation value.” While it would never eliminate the downtown flooding problem, bare ground could more readily soak up water. “And there are types of vegetation we could put there that help. ... We could have the city engineer look at some of the options.”

That could also contribute to making a more attractive downtown.

“I think downtown could use more greenery and trees,” says Bettencourt.

While documents give 1840 as the date when the building was constructed, he doesn’t think it has historical value.

“That hasn’t come up,” he said.

City Councilor Dave Gravel, whose subcommittee will review the proposed purchase on Thursday, believes it never recovered from the devastating Mother’s Day storm in 2006.

“That building has been pretty much unoccupied since,” he said.

In explaining why adjacent buildings, closer to the river, continue to be utilized, Gravel explained that 16 Lowell St. is located at a low point in the square, and when flooding occurs, it gets even more water than others. In 2006, water filled the basement and surged as high as the first floor.

“The building seems to sit in a prime flood spot,” he said. “Nothing stops the water.”

Gravel’s office was located in the vicinity after the storm, and he watched efforts to restore 16 Lowell.

“I watched for months,” he said, but it appeared the damage was too extensive. Now, “it’s available at a low price,” he said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

AP Video
Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion
Comments Tracker