EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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January 28, 2014

North Andover Selectmen approve agreements with Bradstreet School developer

NORTH ANDOVER — The selectmen last night unanimously approved Hearthstone Realty Corp.’s plan to demolish the former Bradstreet School and redevelop the 70 Main St. property with 15 apartments and commercial space.

The apartments will be located in a building that will face Saunders Street, which runs parallel to Main Street. The commercial structure, which will have four or five storefronts plus offices, will face Main Street.

The Historical Commission, hoping to preserve the century-old Bradstreet School, voted in September to invoke the demolition delay bylaw, which saved the building from being leveled for a year.

Town Manager Andrew Maylor said last night he will ask the Historical Commission to reconsider its vote on the delay. Now that the selectmen have approved and signed purchase and sale and land development agreements with Hearthstone, the former school’s fate is sealed, Maylor said.

The agreements are legally binding and the school will be demolished, he said. Another firm, Oakgrove Residential Developers, submitted a plan to the selectmen last May that would have preserved Bradstreet School, which was closed in 2005.

The selectmen designated that plan as their second choice. Now that the board has approved the Hearthstone plan, “that alternative no longer exists,” Maylor pointed out.

William Perkins, president of Hearthstone, was not present at last night’s selectmen’s meeting, but he told The Eagle-Tribune last week the project is “great news for the downtown.” The apartments, he said, will be energy-efficient and he is confident he’ll be able to locate a couple of restaurants on the site.

“We made a choice,” said Selectman Tracy Watson, a longtime advocate for redeveloping the Bradstreet School property.

Watson and other officials have noted that when the site is developed, the town will receive real estate taxes — instead of having to pay an estimated $40,000 a year to maintain a vacant building.

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