HAVERHILL — An iconic but dormant downtown building will get life as an upscale apartment complex with a high-end restaurant on the first floor.
Ryan Guthrie of Stateside Realty Group has received a permit from City Council to build nine market-rate apartments at 2 Washington St., a four-story building that was home to Haverhill Music Centre for more than half a century until it closed in October of last year.
Guthrie said he has an agreement to buy the building from Robert Killey, who opened the music store in the 1950s.
The building, located in the Washington Street Historic District, will undergo major renovations inside and outside this fall, Guthrie said. He expects it will be ready for occupancy early next summer. The first floor will likely be a “high-end” restaurant, he said.
The project continues the trend of businesses on first floors of downtown buildings and apartments or condominiums on upper floors.
The comeback of downtown in recent years has been marked by more than 500 living units on upper floors of buildings, particularly of old vacant shoe factories. The downtown also has a restaurant district along Washington Street and nearby streets. The restaurant to be built at Guthrie’s building will add to that district.
Michael Migliori, Guthrie’s attorney, said local architect Angelo Petrozzelli has been hired to oversee the renovation and make sure the building is restored to how it looked when it was built in 1882.
Before the building was home to the music center, it was home from 1923 to 1957 to Gus’ Market, which was owned by Augusto Fiorentini, Mayor James Fiorentini’s grandfather. The mayor said his uncle Frank later ran the market from 1957 to 1960.
Guthrie said he plans to spend about $1.6 million rehabilitating the building, including installing a new roof and windows, cleaning the brick exterior and removing the fire escape on the back of the structure.