BEVERLY — The city’s oldest surviving car dealership is coming down, and two new apartment buildings are about to go up.
The development company Beverly Crossing last week began knocking down the former Ford dealership at 211 Rantoul St. It plans to build a five-story apartment building with 98 units on that site, and a five-story building with 28 units on a vacant lot across from that building.
Beverly Crossing President Chris Koeplin said the new apartments are scheduled to open next September.
“We’re feeling good about the Ford site delivery next year,” he said.
Beverly Crossing, an arm of Windover Development, bought the Ford dealership building for $3.3 million in 2015. It was built between 1919 and 1924 as a Ford showroom/garage and was the longtime home of the Thomas Ford dealership, and most recently Kelly Ford.
The two new apartment buildings will be the latest additions to the building boom on Rantoul Street over the last decade, most of it by Windover/Beverly Crossing. In July, the company opened an apartment building at 480 Rantoul St.
Like the other projects, the new apartment buildings will have retail space on the first floor. Koeplin said the company is working on filling those spaces.
Koeplin said the demand for new apartments remains strong. The company has leased 62 of the 90 apartments at 480 Rantoul St., he said.
“People like new product,” he said. “For a long time Rantoul hasn’t had the product we’ve been putting on. When a new building comes on it spurs its own demand.”
Koeplin said the rents for the new buildings have not yet been determined.
The dealership building was deemed “historically significant” by the Beverly Historical Commission last year, but the commission deadlocked on whether to delay its demolition, a power the board can use in hopes of preserving buildings.
One aspect of the building will be saved, however. Brian Kelly, who owned the most recent dealership to occupy the site, said he owns the 30-foot-tall Ford sign on the property and will be keeping it. He said the sign was put up in the 1990s. The sign will go into storage after it’s removed.
“They’re very collectible,” he said. “They’re worth a lot on the secondary market.”
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or email@example.com.