EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 11, 2013

Salem ZBA grants variance for office building

By Doug Ireland
direland@eagletribune.com

---- — SALEM — The Zoning Board of Adjustment has granted a variance to allow for construction of a four-story office building on Keewaydin Drive that would accommodate 220 workers.

The board voted unanimously to give approval to Osomor LLC and Crosby Advisors LLC, which proposes the 75,000-square-foot office building at 28 Keewaydin Drive, according to town planning director Ross Moldoff.

A variance was required because regulations for the commercial and industrial district prohibit buildings more than 45 feet tall and three stories high, Moldoff said. The proposal calls for a 61-foot structure.

Crosby, which moved to 11 Keewaydin Drive from Boston two years ago, manages holdings of Fidelity Investments owner Edward “Ned” Johnson III and his family.

The company has told the town approximately 200 employees would work at the new building, but did not say at the hearing how many of those would be new positions.

Zoning board Chairman Gary Azarian praised the proposal, saying it would increase the town’s tax base and bring jobs to the community.

“It’s a very, very nicely designed building,” he said.

Moldoff has also said it would be a “first-class office building.”

The fourth story was required for the construction of a two-level parking garage, Azarian said.

Otherwise, the developer would have to pave a 140,000-square-foot area to provide parking, he said. That area will be landscaped instead, he said.

The project still requires additional approval from the town.

Osomor, the developer, went before the Conservation Commission Wednesday night and received approval to fill in 9,535 square feet of wetlands for the driveway and access road.

Osomor will also go before the Planning Board tomorrow for a conceptual review of the project.

Crosby managing director Geoffrey von Kuhn said his company wants to continue growing in Salem.

“We like the area and we are just exploring future opportunities for the Crosby Group,” he said.