BEVERLY — The developer of the proposed Depot Two apartment building announced Friday that the company will revise the controversial project to preserve the historic Casa de Lucca building that was slated for demolition.
In a letter, Beverly Crossing President Chris Koeplin said the company is changing its plans after listening to residents and officials who objected to the demolition and its impact on a key city block across from the train station.
Koeplin said the company will explore a revised project that would maintain and renovate Casa as the "prominent corner" of the proposed development.
"We believe renovating Casa is an opportunity to create a development that is truly unique to Beverly, a city that we have invested deeply in and have always loved," Koeplin wrote.
Koeplin declined to comment beyond what was included in the letter.
Beverly Crossing has proposed building a six-story apartment building at 146-148 Rantoul St. To clear the way for the building, the company was planning to knock down three historic structures — the former Casa de Lucca restaurant, the former Press Box barroom, and the former Sullivan Chiropractic building.
A group formed in opposition to the project called Depot Matters has led the fight against the project, saying it is too large for the area and that the city will lose a part of its history. The Casa de Lucca and Press Box buildings are both former hotels associated with the coming of the railroad to the city.
The project is before the city's Planning Board and is scheduled to be heard again by the board on Tuesday night.
In his letter, Koeplin said Beverly Crossing is working on a design that will "effectively merge" the Casa building into the current design. He said that will make the project more expensive, but the company has listened to what he called the "thoughtful and respectful" discourse in the community.
"We imagine this concept as a chance to uphold a cherished past while continuing to revitalize the Depot area — an emerging neighborhood where people and businesses want to call home and where critical housing is not only best-located but needed," he wrote.
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.