Lynnfield not ready to sink Ship just yet

The Ship Restaurant on Route 1 in Lynnfield might be torn down.


LYNNFIELD — Not so fast.

That was the decision of the Lynnfield Historical Commission Tuesday night when they placed a 30-day hold on plans to demolish the Ship Restaurant on Route 1.

Plans for property at 24 Broadway include more than 12,000 square feet of retail including a restaurant, coffee shop, an East Boston Savings Bank and construction of 68 condominiums.

Steve Todisco, the commission’s chairman, said the delay will allow a walkthrough of the site by the commission to get a better sense of its historical value.

The Ship was built in 1925 by retired sea captain James F. Wilkinson from Gloucester, according to the restaurant’s website. The 16,044-square-foot nautical-themed building was purchased in 2007 for $16.5 million by Ship Mall LLC, an entity of Micozzi Management Inc., an Allston-based real estate company.

While the demolition halt is temporary, Thomas Mullen, the town’s attorney, said Lynnfield could extend it by placing the Ship on the town’s list of historical properties.

If that’s done, the Planning Board cannot issue a demolition permit for a year or until the commission grants permission, Mullen said.

Todisco said the commission can put buildings of unique architectural character on the list, regardless of their age.

The panel is expected to vote on whether to place the Ship on the historic properties list at their February meeting.

The goal isn’t necessarily to stop the development of the property or put it on hold for an entire year, Todisco said.

“At this point we just want the ability to have a dialogue,” he said. “There may or may not be historical features worth preserving.”

The commission could opt to remove certain features of the Ship for preservation, such as the mast or the windows from the transom.

Ted Regnante, Micozzi’s attorney, said the building has outlived its purpose and cannot remain as is.

He said the cost of renovations to save the building would exceed the cost of plans to raze the building and replace it.

Regnante said the commission won’t take action until Micozzi has been given an opportunity to present evidence that the restaurant is not historically or architecturally significant.

“We had a cordial discussion,” he said about the meeting with the commission last Tuesday. “We look forward to working with the commission and the town counsel.”

Leah Dearborn can be reached at [email protected]

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