SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

May 22, 2014

Junkyard for sale

2.23-acre site on North River on market for $2.4 million

SALEM — For sale: 2.23 acres of land on the North River next to Furlong Park, within walking distance of the MBTA station and the city’s popular downtown. Includes small office building.

Does not include junk cars.

The land belonging to the long-standing Ferris junkyard on Franklin Street — technically the Charles Ferris Auto Service — has been put on the market, thus opening up another slice of well-positioned property in the North River Canal Corridor to the possibility of development.

The price: $2.4 million.

“It has ... amazing opportunity, as either luxury apartments or high-end condominiums,” said Gary Blattberg, the property’s broker with RE/MAX Advantage. “The traction point, naturally, is proximity to downtown and the fact that it’s on the water.”

In fact, the site being on the water has recently caused problems for the junkyard, which was sued last year by Conservation Law Foundation. CLF — an environmental organization perhaps best known locally for fighting Footprint Power’s plan to erect a new power plant at the site of Salem Harbor Station — said the junkyard was discharging stormwater into the North River without the proper permit and violating the Federal Clean Water Act.

Although Ferris never admitted to any wrongdoing, the junkyard reached an agreement — called a consent decree — with CLF to quash the lawsuit. In addition to developing and adhering to a detailed pollution prevention plan, Ferris agreed to pay $15,000 to Salem Sound Coastwatch, cover CLF’s legal fees and pay fines for any missed deadlines.

“This resolves the entire case,” said Zachary Griefen, the CLF attorney who handled the case.

Whether a new owner of the property would be subject to the agreement is something that will be handled on a case-by-case basis, said Griefen, who noted that it would depend on a lot of factors, such as the nature of any incoming facility.

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