Contaminated factory site up for sale

Waste and wetlands violations were found at 143 Lynnfield St. during an investigation by the city and state.


PEABODY — Just when city officials were starting to breathe a sigh of relief over cleanup efforts at the former L. Fine Factory property on Lynnfield Street, new questions are being raised about the possible sale of the 12.58-acre property.

Earlier this week, the property was advertised with a $3.1-million asking price by Engel and Volkers, a high-end real estate company out of Boston. The property is currently owned by Kevin Hoag/143 Lynnfield St. LLC, which bought the property for $600,000 in 2013.

But Ward 1 City Councilor Jon Turco is asking for a legal opinion as to whether the real estate company can advertise the potential for up to 120 multi-family units on the property.

“The problem that you have with this is that the advertisement states that they are going to develop 120 multi-family homes,” said Turco. “I’d like to refer that ad to the city solicitor and have a ruling on whether the city can prevent that from being advertised because this is actually an IL (light industry) zone and housing is not allowed.”

Turco said he doesn’t understand how the realtor can advertise the parcel falsely and said he wants the city solicitor to rule whether the ad is legal or not.

“The site consists of (three) parcels totaling 12 acres with a 96,000 (square foot) former mill building located on site that is ideal for a multi-family conversion into brick and beam style apartments, one of the most sought after types of product by today’s renters,” the real estate ad states.

Rodney Scott, the Engel and Volkers agent listed on the real estate ad, could not be reached for comment.

The contaminated property has caused consternation for city officials for years. In March, a state-ordered cleanup of debris piles and oil tanks got underway. An Administrative Consent Order (ACO) issued by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection required the owner to remove more than 99 oil tanks from inside the building and several dozen more from outside the building within 90 days.

As cleanup of the site progresses, the property owners will have to continue to meet certain benchmarks throughout the year. Turco said that if the property is sold, the new owners would have to continue or complete any necessary cleanup efforts, but that a sale could delay the efforts to decontaminate the property in a timely manner.

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