SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

January 26, 2013

Developer seeks historic district certification

Would demolish 2 Beverly buildings

The developer who is planning to demolish two historic buildings near the train depot is also trying to get the area listed as a historic district in order to qualify for more than $2 million in state and federal tax credits.

Windover Construction has nominated the Beverly Depot-Odell Park Historic District for listing with the National Register of Historic Places, a program that recognizes buildings and areas worthy of preservation.

At the same time, the company has applied for permits from the city to demolish two historic buildings in the district, the former Hotel Trafton and the former Cushing’s Carriage factory, to make way for a new apartment building.

The area’s inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places would make Windover eligible for state and federal historic preservation tax credits for its project at 60 Pleasant St., where the company is turning a former box factory into housing for homeless military veterans. It would not prevent the company from knocking down the other buildings.

Windover President Lee Dellicker acknowledged that it would be “ironic” to demolish historic buildings in a historic district the company is trying to get recognized. But he said the buildings are in bad condition and would be too costly to restore.

“They’re in terrible shape, they’re vacant, and they should come down,” he said.

The Hotel Trafton, at 9 Park St., was most recently used as a rooming house for veterans and is best known as the former Press Box barroom. Cushing’s Carriage, at 142 Rantoul St., is still being used as an office for Sullivan Chiropractic.

Windover wants to knock down both buildings and construct a building with about 75 apartments, with retail space on the first floor and parking under the building.

The National Register designation would qualify Windover for state and federal tax credits equal to up to 20 percent of the historic rehabilitation costs, or $2.2 million, according to the Massachusetts Historical Commission, which administers the state’s historic rehabilitation tax credit program. A similar program on the federal level is administered by the National Park Service.

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