Church Demolition Opponents Hope to Delay Sale

Saint Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church awaits its fate. (WHAV News photograph.)

An organizer of a “late-game effort” to preserve the Saint Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church building says talks are ongoing to, at least, delay an anticipated sale closing between the building owners and a Domino’s Pizza franchisee.

Local Realtor Stephanie E. Mann, who participated Monday in a public awareness gathering outside the building, told WHAV she has spoken, so far, with church representatives in asking to reconsider, for historical reasons, saving the building from demolition. She said avenues are being followed as the building has national and state historical designations.

“Certain things need to be followed and we are exploring those avenues also. At this point, we’re on the phone,” Mann said. “I’ve talked to the church, I’ve also talked to an attorney and at this point they’re going to look into it because of the history and being on those two national registers.”

Mann also raised concern that a retail development on the church site would be a precedent for future development in that neighborhood.

“If that church goes down, so does then the building next to it, then next to it, then next to it. Because it will become a Monument Square type of situation. And once you open that door to a commercial business, history will be gone forever,”

She described public reaction, from passersby or honking car horns during Monday’s so-called rally, as “a positive vibe.”

“That made us feel like there’s a chance, that things may change,” Mann said.

According to Mann, a sale closing between the church and developer Haverdom of Danvers may happen as early as Dec. 7. As WHAV reported earlier, the developer has, through the Historical
Commission, voluntarily worked with city and public input to revise building plans to reflect the church site’s history.

The church property did not previously receive local historical designation within the Main Street Historical District or the Haverhill Historical Commission.

5 thoughts on “Church Demolition Opponents Hope to Delay Sale

  1. Who needs another pizza joint ? Turn the building into a halfway house and eliminate those pesky neighborhood houses. With the PD close by and city hall across the street the inmates should be trouble free !

  2. Why did she wait so long??? They’ve already removed important pieces to the building. Won’t there be water damage to the building at this point?

    This is such a stretch at this point.

  3. A historical district in that area of Main St? Other than the church and the Priestley owned funeral home where will the historical district be?
    The funeral home is a private entity and if they decide to sell it will be there right. City hall doesn’t need to have a say in people’s businesS.
    If you care that much about the history of the area start by cleaning GAR Park. It has turned into a bed and breakfast. But they seem to serve more than breakfast.
    The cannon isn’t part of the playground equipment, the band stand isn’t for sleeping drinking and sexual performances. Never mind the Korean War Monument and what they are doing to that area.
    I degrees, as I’ve said it IS a shame that church can’t continue as it once was but if it is bought what will it become?

  4. The last sentence isn’t quite accurate. 1. The church IS listed on the National Historic Registry. 2. Historical DISTRICTS have more power than Historical COMMISSIONS. A Historical DISTRICT has power to approve or disapprove plans, changes, renovations. Historical COMMISSIONS can only advice. 3. There is no Main Street Historical District currently although the process has started to establish one.

    Sorry I couldn’t be there on Monday night to support Stephanie Mann’s efforts. I personally strongly support what she is doing and will be happy to help in any way I can.

  5. this chrch cold be an asset to city…city must by it then rent to non profits. dosent take a brain surgeon to figre that ot unless mayor for life jimmi gets a kick back