New Landmark Tower Coming to Washington Square

A new elevator, designed to ultimately look like a clock tower, is under construction in Washington Square. (WHAV News photograph.)

Architect’s rendering of new elevator rising above Washington Square.

Architect’s rendering of new elevator rising above Washington Square.

A new landmark is coming to Washington Square.

The four-story high collection of blue tarps at 25 Washington Square are the only external signs of a new elevator project at the elderly housing complex. When completed, however, its gabled top will leave the impression of a clock or bell tower. Haverhill Housing Authority Director Joseph A. Hart said the $1.5 million structure will sport a familiar, contemporary design.

“There are some other designs similar to that like the Hunking School’s clock tower. The Pentucket Bank down by the stadium has that kind of design element in it.”

Hart credits the city with helping to shape the look of the new tower.

“It will be a great addition to the square when it’s done. We worked with the Washington Square historical commission and they pressured the architect to come up with a better design. In that sense, City Hall really helped us get a better end result,” Hart said.

The state-funded project, expected to be completed this fall, helps the housing authority comply with updated accessibility requirements, which suggested the need for a second elevator. The scope of the project,

“It does have a lot of add-ons that really don’t have a whole lot to do with the elevator itself. Because of the value of the project—when the value of a project reaches a certain percentage of the value of your building—a lot of accessibility requirements kick in.”

Those include hand rails, moving electrical switches, restroom, lobby, door hardware and the grade of ramps, he said.

The new structure separates the historic Washington Block building with its 1980s addition on the former site of Louis B. Mayer’s Orpheum theater. It was designed by Gienapp Design Architects of Danvers, and being constructed by GTC Construction, located just around the corner at 85 Essex St.