Wanted: A buyer for the Lynn Armory. Must have vision for what the property could be. State auction to be held on November 17. (Item Photo by Owen O’Rourke)
By Thomas Grillo
LYNN — For sale: a 123-year-old red brick facility on South Common Street. Needs work. Lots of potential. Make offer.
The Lynn Armory, a Romanesque-style building that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is scheduled for an onsite auction on Thursday, Nov. 17 at 2 p.m. by the Zekos Group, a Shrewsbury-based auctioneer.
The Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM), the agency that handles the state’s real estate, has declared the 37,602-square-foot armory and a storage building behind it as surplus property.
Eugene Clements, broker-owner of Clements Realty Group in Lynn, said the highest and best use of the landmark would be market-rate condominiums.
“This is a big opportunity for a private developer to do condos where unit owners can take advantage of the concerts at the Lynn Auditorium, downtown restaurants and the nearby beach,” he said.
Louis Minicucci Jr., co-developer of the $80 million waterfront project on the former Beacon Chevrolet site at the Lynnway that will feature 355 apartments, said reuse of older historic buildings are a challenge, but can result in a unique development.
“Typically, rehabbing historic properties to maintain the original history, character and architectural features is always more expensive than to build new,” he said. “But there are federal historic tax credits that make it more attractive for contractors.”
About 6,000 square feet of the building will be lost to common areas and hallways, which would leave about 31,000 square feet for condo development or about 30 units that would feature 1,000 square feet of space.
“That unit total is kind of small and it would be even smaller if the units are larger, but it could work depending on market pricing,” he said. “Also, providing parking spaces is key to make them sellable.”
One thing is for sure, the city will not be bidding on the building that is assessed at $1.7 million. DCAM gave the city the right of first refusal on the three-story landmark. But Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy said no thanks, noting it would be too costly for the city to take on.
Thomas Grillo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.