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.