The ‘Challenge’ has been thrown down for all to see!

Richards Auto RepairThe first time I visited Newburyport, I spied this ghastly eye-sore and said, “That building has to go!”     And as I moved into the city, I knew that the demolition* of that building would be key to rejuvenating that entire waterfront section.         Later, as the Lagasse’s and then Karp began buying up land; I stood there hoping they would obtain this eyesore and remove it.      But stubbornly it stood there.      When my next door neighbor who owned the building passed on, I said to myself; surely it will be bought and removed.     Then when the Clipper City Rail Trail was installed, Michael’s Harborside was renovated and Newburyport Development sat on the W.W.O.D. (Waterfront West Overly District); I thought surely it would finally go.     

The building is ugly and when it was built originally; it was ugly.      To be absolutely fair toBy the Bridge Benny and Robert Richard who ran the Richard Brake & Alignment Shop; it was actually a step up.       The original area and the wharf were surrounded by mill buildings and coal barges.      But we are now looking at an entirely different waterfront.      The Mill buildings burned down in 1934 and the warehouses were replaced by the trendy Michael’s.    The ghastly barges have been supplanted by lovely powerboats and yachts.

And if Steve Karp’s dream of a yacht-destination development is ever to come true, that building has to be removed.       I have long suspected that the original WWOD is dead and Newburyport Development is simply a caretaking enterprise.       If so, we as a city, would have no longer anything to fear from the likes of New England Development.

But I could be wrong.      Everything and I mean everything is keyed into the fate of this one building.   New England Development will send a powerful signal if they purchase it that they are serious about investing in Newburyport.

But I could be right.    If this building is allowed to sit, we won’t need tea leaves or psychics to find out what is in the mind of Karp.

-P. Preservationist

* For those who love to be quick to call out, ‘hypocrite!” just remember this building is less than a hundred years old and is located outside the Newburyport Historic District.    It was built ugly, and no lipstick or renovation will ever make it more than it was designed to be – a working garage.     I may be an historic preservationist but I don’t support restoring trash dumps (figuratively of course) simply because they are ‘old’.

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One Response to The ‘Challenge’ has been thrown down for all to see!

  1. YEAT boy says:

    Oh ye of little faith. I am quite sure the arguments of “eyesore” , “ugly”, and “useless” have all been heard before for every historic building in our fair city. My 1789 Georgian, for example, should have been torn down long ago — it was, after all, a rooming house for vagrants, tramps, women of ill repute, unwed mothers, and other detritus of society. Maybe if we gave it a classification (“late American nouveau chop shop style”) You would change your tune? So the difference is if we ignore it a few more years, then we can incorporate it in a future LHD?

    Although at this stage I would support whoever buys it to do whatever they want with it, it’s loss would not go unnoticed …a reminder of another year, another aesthetic, and possibly another Bossy Gillis wanna be. Our cities true strength lies in a diversity of styles, somewhere between the edges of bulldozed redevelopment on one side, to antiseptic Disney views of historic neighborhoods on the other.

    Whether Mr. Karp buys it or ignores it is another question. But I, for one, would miss that sad little brick box – a reminder of the true grittiness of the REAL Newburyport….I am sure someone could put it to good use for a few more years until you, and folks of your ilk (including me), would defend it with lawsuits and regulation…

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