Fire-Damaged Property on Demolition List May Find New Life

(Robert King photograph.)

A fire-damaged home near Bradford Common could find new life even as a demolition order for it was handed down Tuesday night.

By separate 8 to 0 votes, Haverhill city councilors approved recommendations from Building Inspector Richard Osborne to issue demolition orders for properties at 251 South Main St. and 9 South Lincoln St. Osborne told councilors, however, he was recently in contact with a potential buyer for the South Main Street property whom, he said, had restored another to “a habitable state” and would also seek a historical district designation.

“The gentleman that has come up with a proposal to buy is willing to put back a colonial building, a two and a half story colonial (that) would comply, or he would get a historical approval on the building prior to building it,” Osborne said.

According to Osborne, the city solicitor said there is 30-day appeal period, during which a purchase and sale agreement April 11, followed by closing April 23, could possibly occur and “the demolition process could be stopped.” His remarks came in response to concern by Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan the structure was “not necessarily protected by any historical standards.”

Haverhill City Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan.

Haverhill City Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan.

“Unfortunately it doesn’t appear that we can put back what was there all these years. That was always a great house on a key corner of Bradford. Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do to keep that house exactly the way it is. If whoever buys it chooses to do it that’s one thing, or replace it with a like-minded structure. I would just hope that whoever does buy it, they will do something appropriate for the location,” Sullivan said.

Meanwhile, Osborne described the structure at 9 South Lincoln St., uninhabited for about six years and previously held off from demolition in 2014, as “blighted” and “found to be a nuisance to the neighborhood.” Sullivan added that property was “long overdue to come down,” since a title review he previously conducted appeared to show the property was bought in “a subprime lending situation” and the past owner was unable to hold on to the property.