Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!

I was just down at one of the marinas getting one of the boats setup and out of the water.       Talked to a boat owner down there, who was bemoaning the fact his parents will have to settle for less on their home.    They paid $650,000 back in 2005 and now they will be forced to have to sell it for $450,000 and that’s if they’re lucky.      I asked innocently enough, “Where do they live?” thinking they’re in some low-rent, rundown town.    “They live in Tewksbury,” he replied.   

TEWKSBURY!!!     That town’s practically a breeding ground for McMansions!

And that explains what recently happened at the Newburyport Historical Commission.      They had a demolition request for an entire house smack dab in the Newburyport Historic District.       The owner just called in and callously stated, “If the home is historical, just slap the demolition delay on it.”      In fact, they didn’t even bother to show up –both the developer and the owner.      In other words, get it over with.   Gives us room to line up the demolition team, get the contractor all setup for the new house and all the permits in place a year from now.     

257-259 Water Street - EastsideNow this contributing historical home is 257-259 Water Street.     Its crime is that it backs up to a multi-million dollar view of the harbor and is a healthy lot size.     But I took a look at the house.     Wow, roof line is solid, foundation is solid.      The whole building is sharp looking.       So why the demolition?      That’s when I saw the workmanship of the developer.

I told you before that developers are greedily looking from outside Newburyport and seeing us as a shining light upon the hill and the light is GREEN.       While real estate agents  in our surrounding area and yes in many parts of America; are forced to apologize to their hard-pressed clients; in comparison the prospect for our City is looking bright.     

ALL THAT STAND IN THE WAY IS A BUNCH OF STINKY HISTORIC HOMES.  (The very homes that are causing us to be a hot real estate destination.)

Exploiters from every corner of New England are drooling over us and are kicking up gravel getting here.      


If something isn’t done soon to protect them, that GREEN light is going to turn to YELLOW and after the developers are done, to RED. (After they’ve used us up like a spider on a fly’s carcass.)

You saw the size of this historical home.       It is proportional to its surrounding buildings and blends in nicely to the streetscape.

You want to see what’s going in after the demolition delay?         

Here is a selection from the developer’s portfolio.

Salley Associates Portfolio III Salley Associates Portfolio II Salley Associates Portfolio I


-P. Preservationist

This entry was posted in Demolitions, Developers, Historic Demolitions, Local Historic Districts (LHD), Preservation. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!

  1. SDS says:


    Interesting post, and I fully agree with your comment about the McMansions. They are ruining Rowley & Newbury for example, both visually and financially.

    But as always we have to look at the whole picture. The family that owns and grew up in this house has been there for-ever.

    So now what do they do? A long time ago a family spent quite a large amount of money to purchase a home in this place called Joppa (note: it was now the rich part of the city, although there is some very interesting history about residents in this area . After years of work by all the members of the family it for some strange reason (the outsiders/darksiders) its now worth a bunch of money.

    It would be nice if they could afford to just keep the house as it is, and I expect they would love to do that. Many of use actually grew up in this city and love it for all it is.

    But maybe they are looking to get a return on the investment over the years of labor. Maybe the family changed, maybe people want to live elsewhere since that is where they work.

    So, maybe no one is at fault. Except for the developer that built those houses in the pictures.


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