AMESBURY — Local developer Mark Wojcicki has signed an agreement with the city to purchase the former Horace Mann Elementary School.
Wojcicki, owner of Wojcicki Development LLC, signed a $100,000 purchase-and-sale agreement with the city to buy the 22,651-square-foot building at 10 Congress St. and turn it into a condominium complex, according to Mayor Ken Gray’s office.
“Mark is a world-class builder and we are lucky to have him living in Amesbury, let alone getting involved in this project,” Gray said. “This should be great for the neighborhood and the community.”
The school was built in 1908 and served elementary and preschool students until 2004 when it was converted into the school district’s central office. It was designated for surplus by Gray in 2014.
The city has requested bids for the property twice before. The first request for proposals received no responses but developer David Martin of Martin Development LLC signed a purchase-and-sale agreement for roughly $100,000 in 2017 to turn the property into a 10- to 12-unit apartment building.
But the city’s deal with Martin fell through and the project went out to bid again in February.
Gray has voiced his preference for a residential project in the past and, according to the mayor, Wojcicki plans to leave the style of the building’s facade unchanged while converting it into approximately 10 condominiums.
“This project is a win-win for the city,” Gray said. “We will be able to preserve and repurpose the existing historical structure while converting the building to residential properties that will greatly improve the neighborhood and strengthen our tax base”
Wojcicki grew up in the city and finished building 13 residential units at 104-114 Main St. last year.
He said in a press release that he is “excited to begin the process of restoring, and breathing new life into a piece of Amesbury’s history.”
“Growing up and working in Amesbury, I have a great deal of respect for the rich history here and believe it is worth preserving and showcasing,” Wojcicki said in the statement. “I look forward to restoring the former Horace Mann School and creating a unique residential property that future Amesbury residents will be proud to call home.”
Gray said any affordable housing component of the project would be determined during the city’s planning process and that a closing on the property is expected by the end of March.
Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.