Historic Downtown Haverhill Building Wins Council Approval for Nine Apartments

The iconic Magnavox sign at the former Haverhill TV and Appliance store came down in October 2019. (Peter Carbone photograph for WHAV News.)

Click image for Haverhill City Council agenda.

The downtown Haverhill building that once housed Haverhill TV and Appliance—and displayed a distinctive vertical Magnavox sign—will soon be repurposed into a mix of commercial space and nine apartments.

Haverhill city councilors granted the project a special permit last week. Overall, the project met with approval as expressed by Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan.

“I think this is a great project. It is a modest project. We’re not adding to anything. The building has been there. It has been sitting there, underused for a long time. It’s going to be brought back to its historic state or at least to an historic look and I thank you for that,” Sullivan.

West Newbury developer Theodore P. Ammon plans to convert the top three floors of the building into nine residential apartments while maintaining two commercial units on the ground floor. The apartments would include six two-bedrooms and three one-bedroom units. The planned conversion was endorsed by Economic Development and Planning Director William Pillsbury Jr. as well as the Washington Street Historic District Commission.

Local architect Matthew E. Juros told councilors through a remote hookup he had hoped the sign would be restored much like Boston’s historic Citgo sign. He was told the sign was owned by the Battistini family and was not part of the sale. However, Frederick A. “Rick” Battistini Jr. and his brother Matthew are donating part of the sign to Haverhill’s Buttonwoods Museum.

Councilors did require the builder provide basement storage for occupants and lease 24-hour parking spaces from the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority garage.

Haverhill TV and Appliance, operated for years by Frederick A. Battistini and his family, shut its doors last year after 98 years of serving the city. Its landmark sign at 27 Washington St. was taken down by the family last October. The property sold for $500,000.

The project returns to the City Council Tuesday night for consideration of local and state tax breaks.

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