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What Should Go Here at 18 Howley St.?

This vacant plot downtown has been empty for years.

Even to the casual observer driving along Main Street, it's hard to miss this swath of vacant land.

The property at 18 Howley St. -- about three acres -- is located behind the Holy Ghost Society Cultural Center and has sat relatively untouched for years.

The land was slated for 200 units of residential condos until the economy and housing market forestalled those plans several years ago.

The city finally refused to extend permits for the property in 2008 after a few years with little to no activity on the site and run-ins with conservation officials on proper site maintenance.

The Azorean Brotherhood eventually purchased the property for $675,000 in 2008 and has mulled plans for an assisted living facility and mix of residential units, but nothing concrete has materialized at this time.

The land is actually three separately owned plots. The Azorean Brotherhood owns the largest lot (three acres), while a sliver of land next to the North River is owned by a real estate firm and a Beverly investor owns the half-acre that runs up to Main Street.

So for the visionaries out there, what would be a good use of this land? What would you like to see happen here eventually?

MShribman January 15, 2013 at 03:50 PM
Something that will provide jobs. Anything but more subsidized housing.
Susan Sturgeon January 15, 2013 at 04:41 PM
A GOOD deli or casual restaurant.
Billy M January 15, 2013 at 04:49 PM
Sorry this city doesn't need any more businesses cluttering up everything...how about a park, you know, with trees?
Mary McCarthy January 15, 2013 at 05:14 PM
I would like to see a youth center. It would be a great location and it would also create jobs. The young people would have a place to go after school and during the summer.
Russ January 15, 2013 at 05:32 PM
How about a retention pond for Strongwater Brook, that's the brook under the CVS on Main St., that land floods every heavy rain! If they build there where do they put the water that floods the land? It is a floodplain, plain and simple. Build on it and it WILL flood. I know!! Let's dig a BIG HOLE and put a big pipe in there and bring it to the river. Oh, we did that on Foster St already and it didn't work. Let's do it AGAIN, again and again. It's only taxpayers' money. Anything for downtown! Another restaurant! How many do we have now? They're all going broke and closing! Walk down Walnut Street and see for yourself. I guess those others were "good ones". Maybe they didn't accept EBT cards.
Rick Remieres January 15, 2013 at 07:49 PM
I agree with Mary McCart. I've been saying it for years, a nice youth center, to get kids off the streets would be an asset to the City, and create jobs as well.
Sandi Drover January 15, 2013 at 08:21 PM
Great idea!
Lisa Hanson January 16, 2013 at 01:29 AM
Low income housing for the 55+. Peabody needs more and it is a great location because groceries and perscriptions are within walking distance.

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