Over time, Mother Nature essentially took care of that on her own. A portion of the factory’s roof collapsed in 2009, exposing the interior of the building to the elements, and the resulting water damage prompted building inspector Denis Nadeau to have most of the building demolished over the next year.
Today, the only part of the old factory left standing is the exterior wall that fronts on Merrimac Street, with minimal features of the original building left intact.
“If you go around there’s nothing there. Some of the wooden building is still there, but the rest is gone,” Nadeau said. “It’s basically all false walls right now on the street.”
The Merrimac Hat Factory was once a thriving economic engine in Amesbury that manufactured hats worn by men and women around the globe. The factory closed its doors after over a century in business in 1970 and remained vacant until Sullivan began work on Hatter’s Point in 1999.
David said the factory’s location overlooking the Merrimack River makes it extremely attractive from a real estate perspective, and the association has already heard from developers interested in the project.
“They already have people who’ve shown interest, and if they are interested and get something put down on paper, they could start developing in the next year,” David said.
If a developer does emerge, Nadeau said the previous permits issued to Sullivan’s group had most likely expired, meaning the new firm would likely have to appear before the Planning Board before going ahead with any plans.