“It does make sense to list the park and say this is a civic area,” he said.
Finch said it is “perfectly obvious” that Windover is seeking the historic classification in order to get the tax credits. He said the 60 Pleasant St. building would not qualify for National Register listing as an individual building, so Windover is seeking to have the entire district listed.
Asked about the irony of a company tearing down two buildings in an area its says is historic, Finch said, “I guess it’s called the good and the bad. The hope is to foster positive development both for historic buildings and for non-historic buildings in the area. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword.”
Dellicker said Windover is in the process of restoring 60 Pleasant St. to its “original grandeur,” including the installation of new windows and copper trim. The four-story brick building was built in 1896 as the J.P. Friend & Company Box Factory and was most recently used as a self-storage building.
Windover is transforming the building into 33 apartments for homeless veterans, with on-site counseling and job training.
“It’s coming out to be a very handsome historically renovated building,” Dellicker said.
Among the 14 historic buildings in the proposed historic district are five brick buildings at the National Grid complex on River Street; the River House homeless shelter, a former fire house built around 1872; and the Casa de Lucca restaurant, another former railroad hotel; and the U.S. Post Office building on Rantoul Street. The post office is already in the National Register.
Dellicker said property owners would not be restricted from making any changes to their buildings if the area becomes a historic district. About 280 properties in Beverly are listed in the National Register.
The Beverly Historic District Commission has scheduled a public hearing for Jan. 31 on Windover’s application for a permit to demolish the former Hotel Trafton and Cushing’s Carriage. The commission can impose a one-year delay, but the company would be free to knock down the buildings once that expires.