EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

May 14, 2014

Margerie Street home razed, two others close to being saved

By Shawn Regan

---- — HAVERHILL — One vacant and dilapidated home has been flattened, while two others are a step closer to being saved.

Mayor James Fiorentini said a condemned home at 2 Margerie St. was demolished Monday. And last night, City Council granted reprieves to buildings slated to be razed at 18 Warren St. and 2 Tyler Ave.

City Councilor Thomas Sullivan, a real estate attorney, said the owner of the Warren Street home has completed the sale of his property and that the new owner has already secured a construction loan from a local bank to rehabilitate it. Sullivan suggested removing the property from the city’s demolition list, but the council decided to leave it on the list for at least one more week.

“The sale is great,” Councilor William Macek said. “But I want to keep it on the demolition list until we see it being repaired.”

The Tyler Avenue building was close to being sold, but the deal fell apart at the last minute, Sullivan said. He said the owner already has a purchase and sale agreement with a new prospective buyer, however. Councilors agreed to give the owner at least one more week to complete the transaction.

The properties are among five of Haverhill’s most deteriorated and dangerous abandoned buildings. The others targeted for demolition were 5 Cypress St. and 36 School St.

The School Street home is also on its way to being reclaimed. A lawyer for the owner of the property, Brian Langlois, told councilors two weeks ago that a local developer plans to buy the home, demolish it within three months and then resurrect it as a duplex residence. Councilors have given Langlois until May 20 to complete the deal. They plan to take up the matter on that date and remove the demolition order as long as the sale has been finalized.

“It’s unfortunate that we have to begin a demolition process to get people to do something with their property,” Macek said. “For whatever reason, people let the properties fall into disrepair, which isn’t fair to our neighborhoods.”

The mayor’s push to demolish the buildings is part of the city’s new and aggressive effort to clean up abandoned and deteriorated properties in Haverhill. He has estimated there are at least 100 such properties in the city.

Last year, the council passed an ordinance requiring absentee owners – often a bank or similar entity that holds a mortgage on the property – to pay $250 to register their buildings with the city. The owners are subject to fines of up $300 per week if they don’t register or if they fail to provide basic maintenance on a property once it is uninhabited. The city has also been going to court to ask judges to appoint receivers to take over and repair some abandoned buildings.