DANVERS — The former Osram Sylvania building at 100 Endicott St. is set to be demolished within the month.
According to Elena Sierra, executive director for the Massachusetts General North Shore Center for Outpatient Care in Danvers, interior demolition of the building has already begun, the site has been fenced off, and the demolition will be staged over the next month.
Grass will be planted in place of the old building, she said, and the entire project is anticipated to be complete by spring. The site will also be used for staff parking.
The demolition will not impact the operations of the Mass General outpatient facility next door, she said.
Partners HealthCare, the nonprofit parent company of Massachusetts General and Salem hospitals, has owned the 100 Endicott St. property since 2006, and opened the Massachusetts General Hospital and North Shore Medical Center on part of the property in 2009.
The building that once housed the headquarters of Osram Sylvania, an international lighting company that once employed hundreds of locals, has remained empty since the company left in 2015 and moved to Wilmington.
"The building is old and not well suited for health care," Sierra said. "We are a health care company. We've evaluated the building and any opportunities with it over time, and we identified the need to take it down."
But Town Manager Steve Bartha said that, over the past year, the town has directed multiple local businesses to the site to see if they could use the space. Among them was Backer Hotwatt, which ultimately relocated to the Danvers Industrial Park on Electronics Avenue.
Partners HealthCare pays the town commercial taxes on the building, and now that the building is set to be demolished the town will not receive that tax revenue. He said the town currently has about $650 million in tax exempt property.
"We were surprised," Bartha said of the news. "The building isn't that old. We had directed a couple of local businesses that were trying to expand over the past year. I think we know now why they hadn't been able to make that work, even though the space seemed like the ideal space for some of these companies.
"Our fear is this will hurt us on our commercial tax base, to take the building down," he said. "If that building came down and they use it as a parking lot (long-term)...our preference would be to see some commercial space there."
The Mass General outpatient center pays the town $110,000 annually through a payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, program. Nonprofits, legally exempt from paying taxes to the town, elect to pay a sum and/or offer services to the town through the program in an effort to offset the costs of public services they utilize, such as public works, police and fire.
Danvers Selectman Bill Clark also expressed disappointment over the building's demolition at Tuesday's selectmen meeting.
"I have nothing to do with it, I just feel it's a great asset to the town and a shame it couldn't be reused or something," Clark said. "It was a very well-built building."
The building was first built to operate as a vacuum-tube plant in the 1950s for CBS-Hytron, Clark said. According to Clark, when the plant opened, it created a number of high-paying jobs for locals at the time.
The Endicott Street property is also home to the Endecott Pear Tree, the oldest living fruit tree in the country, which is believed to have been planted by Gov. John Endecott in 1632. Sierra said careful steps have been taken to protect the tree during the demolition.
"There is a big fence around the perimeter where demolition crews will be working and then we have some extra fencing and protection for our Endecott Pear tree," Sierra said.
According to Sierra, police and security officers on the site evaluate the tree regularly and will patrol the area to check on the tree throughout the demolition process.
Kelsey Bode can be reached at 978-338-2660 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @Kelsey_Bode.