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July 17, 2014

Condos eyed for key waterfront parcel

NEWBURYPORT — An empty brick building in a strategic location on the riverfront is under a tentative purchase-and-sale agreement with a residential development company.

A sale of a structure at 92R Merrimac St. is being discussed between the owners, Robert and Sheryl Richard of Newburyport, and a potential buyer, MINCO Realty, Inc., said Austin Spinella, a sales associate with the listing broker, Coldwell Banker Realty,

Both Spinella and Robert Richard stated that a sale would be predicated on the company’s ability to obtain appropriate permits.

Executives at MINCO, of North Andover and Newburyport could not be reached for comment.

The single-story building, which for years operated as an auto repair shop, is located between Merrimac Street and Michael’s Harborside restaurant, close to Route 1.

Mayor Donna Holaday recently said she was aware of interest by MINCO. She said it is her understanding that the company is considering developing multiple condo and/or apartment residences there.

MINCO executives are reportedly doing “due diligence” to determine whether they can obtain permits before finalizing any deal.

Clerks at the city’s Department of Planning and Development say they have received no formal requests for approval that would be directed to the Zoning Board and/or the Board of Zoning Appeals.

The parcel has been for sale for about a year, in part because it possesses a pivotal location in terms of proximity to the downtown and potential waterfront views for residential dwellers.

It is located adjacent to numerous properties owned by Stephen Karp’s New England Development, within a zoning overlay district called “Waterfront West” that was specifically crafted by the city to encourage development that mimics the look of the downtown.

Karp owns nearly all of the lots in Waterfront West — the Richard building being one of the notable exceptions.

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