DANVERS — The proposed site of a Registry of Motor Vehicles office is scheduled to be sold in a foreclosure auction, casting doubt on when, or if, the registry will actually end up there.
Danvers Crossing, a 24-acre shopping plaza on Route 1 south in Danvers, is set to be auctioned off on Thursday morning. The plaza includes a stand-alone former restaurant building that the state had selected as the future site of an RMV office.
It is unclear what the foreclosure means for those plans. Registry officials couldn't provide more details Wednesday. Danvers state Rep. Ted Speliotis said he and other local officials have asked for a meeting with Registrar Erin Deveney, but at this point he doesn't know how a sale would affect the state's plans.
"We deserve an explanation," Speliotis said.
The North Shore has not had a local RMV site since the state closed the registry at the Liberty Tree Mall in Danvers in June 2016. The closing forced vehicle owners and auto dealerships to use registries in Haverhill, Revere and Wilmington.
The state selected Danvers Crossing in March as the preferred new site from among six bidders and was in the middle of lease negotiations when the property was foreclosed upon.
Danvers Crossing is owned by WP Realty, a commercial real estate company in Pennsylvania that owns nine shopping plazas in seven states in the Northeast. According to a legal notice, the company, through its affiliate DanCross Associates Limited Partnership, is in breach of its mortgage. A public auction is scheduled for Thursday at 10 a.m. at the shopping plaza, at 8 Newbury St.
WP Realty CEO Bryan Weingarten could not be reached for comment. A woman who answered the phone at the company's office said the company does not comment on news stories.
Weingarten, the company founder, was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2014 for filing false tax returns and paid $2.4 million in restitution to the IRS, according to news stories.
Businesses at Danvers Crossing include Chili's, Ann & Hope Curtain & Bath Outlet, Big Lots, Planet Fitness, David's Bridal, Monkey Joe's, Dollar Tree, Leslie's Pool Supplies, and After Hours Formalwear.
It is uncertain how a foreclosure sale would affect the businesses that call the Crossing home. Employees at several of the businesses contacted by The Salem News said they will remain open; others were unaware of the auction.
The plaza property includes four buildings and 926 parking spaces, according to Paul Saperstein Co., the company that will handle the auction.
The property is valued at $17.6 million, according to town of Danvers records, and generates about $385,000 in property taxes for the town.
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or email@example.com.