, Newburyport, MA

December 10, 2012

Riverfront expansion

Nine new condos proposed at entrance to downtown

Staff Writer

---- — NEWBURYPORT — A new condominium development is in the works along the Merrimack River at the gateway to the downtown.

The Zoning Board of Appeals tomorrow night will review a proposal to construct nine condominiums in two residential buildings at 2 Mechanics Court off Merrimac Street. The proposal is being made by Chart House Development LLC, represented by lawyer Mark Griffin.

The property is composed of about 23,000 square feet and abuts the River’s Edge condominium complex and a rail structure owned by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. The lot currently houses the Perry-Murphy construction offices and a used car dealership.

But according to the proposal on file, plans call for saving the historically significant commercial building on the property. Constructed in 1790, the building had been utilized at various times for the storage of horse-drawn carriages. Developers plan to relocate the building to the southeast corner of the lot along Merrimac Street.

The two shed-type buildings on the property, however, are slated to be demolished.

In the past, the neighborhood space was used for commercial and municipal uses, including the Napa Auto Parks at 117 Merrimac St., directly across from the property.

The report in the ZBA file stated that the arrival of the residential units at River’s Edge condominiums has improved the appearance of that part of Merrimac Street.

“The (current) subject property appears to be out of place in this neighborhood of residential buildings and is an unsightly ‘gateway’ before the railroad bridge and into the downtown area,” according to the narrative.

Documents show that the petitioner seeks “grant relief for lot area, open space, building height and front and side setbacks.”

Also slated to be heard at the upcoming ZBA session is a petition to demolish an existing structure at 14 Russia St. and replace it with a new 2 1/2-story single family home.