SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

September 16, 2013

Beverly historic district named to national register

BY PAUL LEIGHTON
STAFF WRITER

---- — BEVERLY — The state’s historical commission has approved a developer’s request to list the city’s depot area on the National Register of Historic Places, a move that will trigger more than $1 million in tax credits for the company.

Windover Construction nominated the district for the national register last November in an effort to gain eligibility for $1.1 million in state and federal historic preservation tax credits for its project at 60 Pleasant St., across the street from the train depot.

Windover renovated the former box factory into housing for homeless military veterans. The work will be eligible for the tax credits once the area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Massachusetts Historical Commission approved the nomination at its meeting on Wednesday. A spokesman for the commission said the Beverly Depot-Odell Park Historic District will be listed on the national register 45 days from the day of the vote.

Beverly Historic District Commission Chairman Bill Finch said he will be happy with the listing only if Windover does not demolish another historic building in the district, the former Hotel Trafton at 9 Park St.

Windover has applied for a permit to demolish the Trafton, as well as the former Cushing Carriage factory at 142 Rantoul St., to build an apartment building.

The Beverly commission imposed a one-year demolition delay on the two buildings in January, but Windover is free to knock them down once the delay expires.

“If they in fact restore the Trafton we’ll be quite pleased,” Finch said. “If they tear it down we’ll not be pleased.”

In February, Massachusetts Historical Commission Executive Director Brona Simon wrote a letter to Windover President Lee Dellicker warning him that the Beverly Depot-Odell Park Historic District would no longer be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places if the buildings are demolished.

“It is the opinion of the (Massachusetts Historical Commission) that both the Hotel Trafton and the Cushing Carriage House are significant contributing elements of the district,” Simon wrote.

Dellicker has said the company is reconsidering its plan to demolish the buildings. He could not be reached for comment for this story.

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the country’s historic places worthy of preservation.

It is designed to “identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archeological resources,” according to its website.

In its nomination, Windover said the Beverly Depot-Odell Park district “is significant for the intact collection of diverse commercial, industrial, transportation and government resources it contains from former factories and hotels to a train station, post office, public park, and railroad bridge.”

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or pleighton@salemnews.com.