BEVERLY — More than six years after it was approved by the city, a plan to build condominiums on the Beverly waterfront is showing signs of life.
A developer has applied for permits to demolish buildings and build a new seawall at the site, steps that must be taken before the condominiums can be built.
The developer, Dennis Pantano, said there’s still no guarantee that condo construction will go forward. But after years of delay, he’s hoping that will soon be the case.
“The market has turned around,” he said. “Now is the time, I believe, to do something.”
Pantano and his partners received final approval from the city in 2007 to build 72 condominiums in two buildings on the former Ventron site on Congress Street, between the Beverly-Salem bridge and the Danvers River.
The work never went ahead, with Pantano citing the downturn in the economy as the reason.
“The way the market was, we were fortunate that we own the property free and clear and were in a position to just wait the market out,” he said.
Pantano’s partner in the Ventron property, Stephen Ricciardi, died last year, so Pantano said he’s unsure how he will proceed.
He said he could either sell the property or find a new partner.
“I’ve always believed in the project, and if there’s a way that I could stay in, I’m really interested in doing it,” he said. “That’s my first choice.”
Pantano, who lives in California, said he’s been contacted by several people interested in buying the property, which he said is a sign that the economy is improving.
“We didn’t have any interest for a number of years, and all of sudden, we’ve had probably a half-dozen or more in the last six months,” he said. “The nice thing is our project is pretty much ready to go.”
Pantano said the local permits for the project have been extended through May 2015 under the Permit Extension Act passed by the state in 2010. The law granted automatic extensions for certain permits in an effort to help with the state’s economic recovery.
The Ventron land, named after the company once located there, has been vacant for years.
It was also home to Metal Hydrides, which converted uranium oxide to uranium metal powder as part of the Manhattan Project to make the world’s first atomic bomb.
The federal government spent $11 million to clean up the 3.7-acre site.
When it was approved by the city in 2007, the project called for building 72 condominium units in two 35-foot-tall buildings.
It would also include construction of a 12-foot-wide walkway along the waterfront, giving the public its first access to the land in years.
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.