Domino’s Design to Replace Church Still a Work in Progress

Original design proposed by Domino’s Pizza.

Andew Herlihy, community development division director.

Andew Herlihy, community development division director.

Design plans for redevelopment of the soon-to-be-demolished Saint Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church, across from Haverhill City Hall, remain a work in progress, according to the office of Economic Development and Planning.

Community Development Division Director Andrew K. Herlihy was among attendees Monday at a Haverhill Historical Commission meeting, seeking public input on building plans to replace the church, at the corner of Main and Winter streets, with a Domino’s Pizza shop and others. Herlihy told WHAV the commission will draft, for the developer, a list of “inexpensive” recommendations to, among others, possibly reflect the site’s history by a marker or “green space” to commemorate the Armenian Genocide 100 years ago.

“I know the church, as they have every right to do, moved their monument over to Ward Hill but there was discussion that maybe tourists and visitors wouldn’t go there. Maybe there should be something on the site there. That’s still open to consideration. The state recommended that we create some sort of historic record to capture pictures, images of the property so that somebody, decades from now, go to City Hall and find a record of what the building looked like.” Herlihy said.

Asked to gauge public sentiment, he believed people felt the plans were better, but still had a long way to go.

“People mentioned the CVS in Monument Square, how that changed the look and feel of that area. And I think there was a feeling that there was concern about it not looking too much like a generic strip mall. There’s a little tower proposed and it was thought that if the church had a rounded arch maybe they could have a rounded arch in the design of their building – just little elements like that,” Herlihy added.

Herlihy reiterated recent comment from city councilors the developer, while not bound to the commission’s authority, is willing to work with the city and neighbors on a design more suited to the area.

“The developer has come back to us with two or three different iterations. I feel that each one he has proposed has taken more community input into account and each one has been an improvement. Again, he has the right to do what he’s doing. We have to take into account that, as a franchisee, he only has so much license personally to do certain things. Franchises, they want them to have a similar look and feel and homogeneity to them and it’s questionable how much we can tweak that,” Herlihy said.

City Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien, who spoke out last week against the church demolition and redevelopment project, told WHAV she was unable to attend due to a schedule conflict.  WHAV also reached out to Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan, however he was unavailable for further comment.

6 thoughts on “Domino’s Design to Replace Church Still a Work in Progress

  1. The church has been vacant for sometime now. However, the building is historical. There are pictures of it on old postcards. Replacing it with a mini plaza and Dominos is going to look very cheesy. A mini plaza is going to look out of place there. There are plenty of other places where this could be built. The historical society was able to block a Burger King from being built at that location. I’m surprised that they can’t block the mini plaza. It’ll be a sad day when the church is torn down. I thought that Haverhill had learned from the mistakes that were made in tearing down historical buildings during the so called urban renewal period.

  2. So, it seems that this project may go the way of the parking plan…..8 years until it was finally done. Really ? It’s a pizza joint. Regardless of what design is finally approved, it is STILL a pizza joint. Either let it go or you should have allowed the initial Burger King. And people wonder why business avoids this place. The” LOOK and FEEL ” ??

  3. Its a dam shame the council never thought to ask for redesigns before on other stores across the city. Take a look at those giant ugly CVS, Rite Aids around the city. Both of those companies offer many designs to suit cities and towns. What giant eye sores they are. Hey JMO