NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

June 17, 2013

Woodbridge School condo agreement signed

BY JENNIFER SOLIS
CORRESPONDENT

---- — NEWBURY – The Board of Selectmen executed an agreement to sell the Woodbridge School building for conversion into residential condominiums during a meeting last week.

The town is selling the .59-acre property at 33 High Road to Dolores and Richard Person, Federal Street Restorations, LLC of Newburyport for $265,000. The closing date is slated for today at 10 a.m.

The final transaction is pending approval from the Historical Commission for a preservation restriction, which aims to retain the former schoolhouse’s exterior Colonial Revival detailing and color scheme. The buyer also agrees to protect the property’s historical setting.

Located on Newbury’s historic Upper Green in a National Register Historic District, Woodbridge School is listed in the Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System database and was mentioned in the state Historical Commission’s Reconnaissance Survey Town Report for Newbury in 1985.

The preservation restriction, which the Historical Commission was expected to approve last week, allows for the new owner to modify some window openings on the south and east elevations of the building and to replace the existing chimneys with “chimney-like structures above the roofline to replicate and preserve the appearance of the exterior roofline,” the document states.

According to the agreement, the interior of the building may be developed and used for up to three condominium units with an additional detached, single-family condominium unit and detached garage on the premises. The restriction, which is perpetual and runs with the land, will be recorded with the Essex South Registry of Deeds.

The buyers’ obligation to purchase is contingent upon their receiving mortgage financing of at least $1.5 million within 10 days of approval for the preservation restriction.

Town Counsel Ginny Kremer told the board that officials with the state’s Historical Commission suggested further preservation restrictions including annual inspections of the property and other limits that were objectionable to the buyer. But since there is no legal obligation to follow the suggestions and the town’s interests have been sufficiently protected, the parties agreed to stick with a less onerous restriction.

“They have their standards, but they just go above and beyond what the town wants,” Kremer said.

After signing the documents on Tuesday night, Selectman Chuck Bear remarked that the process to sell off this particular town-owned property began in January 2005.

Selectmen also signed off on the following other municipal land sales on Tuesday: 32 14th St ($31,500); 9 12th St. ($11,250); 11 16th St. ($28,000); 77 Middle Road ($21,099) and a single lot on Hutchinson Rd ($5,000).

All proceeds from the sale of town-owned land go into an account for use on capital projects.