I was downtown today doing errands and, Lo, what do I see but the historic building, formerly known as Deluge One, still there! I thought by this time the building department’s efforts to sweep away an inconvenient structure was going to be a quick deal! According to them, this building was going to have an entire wall collapse right onto ongoing traffic; couldn’t wait a moment.
What they didn’t understand and now the demolition crew now knows, those buildings (167 years last count) were meant to last!
While other buildings that have roof collapses get shored up, this building gets singled out. How convenient that its fate was being decided on the very day before that evening of the ZBA.
It had to go! The rules of even the DCOD said it had to go! But there was a little problem. Nothing should really be there to satisfy zoning. To put a new building there that would justify its cost would demand 2-3 residents paying full price on a house facing…..yes it’s true…..an off ramp of a highway. If I was a bank financing this, even if I heard a song and dance story about ‘everybody wanting to live in Newburyport’; this one really pushes the envelope as to someone paying top dollar for the traffic noise at all hours of the day and night! Besides, a new building would have to fully follow the building code and would require back acess – yes, it’s true! A driveway exiting into the off ramp. How delicious!
This would justify keeping the building that is already there with a simple addition of a garage on the west side. You see, there are exemptions made for an historic building that would allow it to exist, however non-conforming to zoning simply by using the grandfather clause – in addition, there are many exemptions from the building code that would allow this building to be transformed into an attractive, commercial building. If allowed.
So, with this possibility in view, the building had to go!
Except it isn’t so easy. Supposed to fall down of its own accord, you say? If that was true, many a rickety-old house in Newburyport should have collapsed long ago.
And after the Newburyport taxpayers have been socked with $30,000 (plus) to demolish it; it’s time to take bets that nothing, in the end, will replace it.
All in the name of destroying the very asset that has made Newburyport affluent: our historic buildings!
I’ll leave you with a picture of one of our downtown structures before it was wisely restored! And it was even in worse condition!