DANVERS — The North Shore's long wait for a Registry of Motor Vehicles branch appears to be finally coming to an end.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation announced Wednesday that it plans to open an RMV branch this fall at a shopping plaza on Route 1 in Danvers.
The Registry of Motor Vehicles has signed a 10-year lease with the owner of the property to occupy a stand-alone building in the Danvers Crossing plaza at 8 Newbury St. on Route 1 south. The building is being renovated and is scheduled to open for customers in the fall, the state announced.
The North Shore has been without a registry office since the state closed its branch in the Liberty Tree Mall in Danvers in June 2016, citing problems with the air conditioning. The search for a new location was met with several delays, including a foreclosure auction of the Danvers Crossing plaza last year that stalled lease negotiations.
Danvers state Rep. Ted Speliotis said North Shore residents have been forced to travel to RMV's in Wilmington or Revere over the last two years. The Danvers branch at the Liberty Tree Mall averaged about 315 visitors per day.
"It's critical," Speliotis said of the new branch. "People have been very much inconvenienced."
Speliotis said he did not know details of the lease, such as how much the state will pay in rent. Registry officials did not immediately respond to questions about the rent.
The plaza owner had proposed an annual rent of $350,616 in the first year of a 10-year lease, but that was subject to negotiations. The state was paying only $41,729 at the Liberty Tree Mall.
Registrar Erin Deveney said in a press release that the Danvers Crossing location should be convenient for people who live in the area.
"The building is in a busy retail mall just off a major roadway," she said. "The Registry has appreciated the patience of the public and local officials as we have searched for a new location."
Deveney said the site has "many amenities," including plenty of parking.
The Danvers site will be the latest new location for the RMV, which recently opened new offices in Leominster, Lawrence, New Bedford, Springfield and Fall River.
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.