Dodge Street development will preserve historic building

JAIME CAMPOS/Staff photoA developer is planning a housing development at 107 Dodge St. in Beverly. 

BEVERLY — The new owner of 107 Dodge St. in North Beverly is planning to preserve a historic building as part of a new residential development on the site.

Developer Peter Lutts has filed plans with the city to renovate the former office of the Lauranzano Insurance Agency into a single-family condominium and construct two new duplexes and a parking garage on the site.

The former insurance office was built around 1727 and was determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

"With all of the hot-button stuff in the city about tearing down historic buildings, it's kind of cool to be restoring one," Lutts said. "In my opinion some of them need to be torn down, but this one is savable."

Lutts purchased the property, located on Route 1A down the street from the North Beverly Plaza, in January for $350,000 after the Lauranzano Insurance Agency moved to downtown Beverly. His plan calls for restoring the building and moving it to the front of the lot, and building two townhouses and a garage on the rest of the property, for a total of five condominiums.

Lutts said he originally planned to turn the building into a commercial property, such as a bank, but changed plans because neighbors preferred a residential project.

Bill Finch, the chairman of the Beverly Historic District Commission, said he is pleased to see that the building will be preserved. The house, called the Benjamin Cressy House after its original owner, is one of a number of houses in that area of North Beverly that were built as part of the early settlement of Beverly in the 17th century and early 18th century, he said.

"They're important as Beverly's heritage and they're important to the streetscape as well," Finch said. "They're quite highly visible."

The Cressy house was originally built at 44 Dodge St., but was moved in 1974 to make way for the construction of Route 128 through Beverly, according to records from the Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System.

The project has been approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals and will be reviewed by the Planning Board and Conservation Commission. Lutts said he is hoping to complete the project by next fall.

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

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