SALISBURY BEACH — The state has purchased for $475,000 a key beachfront property, the former Sidewalk Cafe, and plans to tear it down.
The purchase should please many in town, especially those living at Salisbury Beach, who have considered the dilapidated building an eyesore for years. It’s located a few dozen yards south of the beach center, in a commercial area dominated by gift shops, arcades and bars.
The purchase was made through the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, which owns Salisbury Beach. It purchased the 24 Ocean Front South property from Finneral Company, LLC, General Partner of Merit Properties Limited Partnership, of Tewksbury, where property owner Mark Finneral lives. According to the deed, the sale took place around Thanksgiving, though no formal announcement was made.
Town Manager Neil Harrington said the purchase helps resolve the public safety issues and removes obstacles to future development along the beach center.
Harrington thanked state Rep. Michael Costello, D-Newburyport, for his support of the purchase, and DCR Commissioner Ed Lambert and his acquisitions team for working with the town on the sale.
Costello was also pleased with DCR’s actions.
“This site is a public safety hazard and a visual blight on the beach,” Costello said. “With the state investment, we hope the path is cleared for further redevelopment of Salisbury Beach.”
DCR spokeswoman SJ Port said the state intends to take the building down and return the lot to open space that’s part of Salisbury Beach State Reservation as a whole. Although the best-laid plans can go awry, she said, if all goes as DCR hopes, demolition should take place in late spring or early summer.
Over the years, the state has bought a handful of other oceanfront buildings in Salisbury Beach center. Each has been torn down in order to open up public access to the beach and views of the ocean.