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Local News

January 25, 2013

Heard Around Town: Development planned on no man’s land

SALEM — The land along Washington and Dodge streets where a developer plans to build a six-story, $45 million retail and residential complex is something of a no man’s land.

It’s next to the Dodge Street Grill, which has been closed for a while.

It’s where Bay State Billiards used to be, but is long gone. It’s also right where Billy Ray’s Laundromat was, now another empty storefront.

This suddenly important piece of land had a variety of owners before RCG, the Somerville company that wants to develop the site.

Past landlords include Nondas Lagonakas, the founder of Bill & Bob’s Roast Beef; Haim Weizmann, a Swampscott resident who used to own a big chunk of the downtown; and the development arm of DeIulis Brothers Construction, builders of schools, garages and other city landmarks.

RCG, to its credit, pulled all the pieces together, got control of all the land and is venturing forth with another major downtown development.

This is the same company that converted the former Salem Laundry building into Derby Lofts, a condo/apartment building that just hit a bump in the road. Not yet a decade old, the building is undergoing major renovations to the exterior walls and other work.

RCG’s footprint is already huge in Salem. Rather than list buildings it owns, here are some of its tenants: Gulu-Gulu Cafe, O’Neill’s Irish Pub, Starbucks, Howling Wolf Taqueria, Passage to India, A&J King Artisan Bakers and Tavern in the Square.

It’s a who’s who of food and drink.

Going, going ...

The city’s Planning Department is losing two of its best, which reflects well on the department as a training ground for top talent.

Economic Development Manager Tom Daniel, who worked most recently on the Essex Street pedestrian mall, is leaving soon to become community development director in Gloucester.

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