EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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May 14, 2013

Bradstreet School likely to be razed

NORTH ANDOVER — After standing vacant at 70 Main St. for the past eight years, the former Bradstreet School’s days appear to be numbered.

The selectmen voted last night to designate Hearthstone Realty Corp. as the preferred developer for the property. The board liked Hearthstone’s third option, which calls for demolishing the school and erecting a residential building along Saunders Street and a commercial structure facing Main Street.

Hearthstone presented three different plans to the selectmen last week. Three more developers offered proposals to the selectmen last night: Oakgrove Residential, RCG LLC and Water Street Retail LLC.

Oakgrove proposed turning the former school into homes and constructing two retail buildings along Main Street. That plan impressed the selectmen and they voted to make it their second choice.

Victor Sheen, the leader of the Oakgrove Residential team, said he saw an “opportunity” to renovate Bradstreet School into 10 to 15 homes rather than leveling it. He also proposed constructing two retail buildings along Main Street, with a landscaped plaza between them.

Smedile said she preferred the Oakgrove plan because it “blends the old with the new.” Selectman Tracy Watson said she was also impressed with that plan, but her first choice was Hearthstone’s Option 3 because it “enhances” Saunders Street, a residential neighborhood that parallels Main Street.

Selectman Donald Stewart, who attended Bradstreet as a boy, said he didn’t like the idea of tearing down the school, but he was pleased with the businesses and real estate taxes that are bound to be attracted to the downtown by the Hearthstone plan.

“I’ve gone back and forth on this many times,” he said. One factor that swayed him to support the Hearthstone option, he said, is that people under age 70 with whom he has spoken have indicated they don’t care if the old school is razed.

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