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Crew begins to tear down Route 1’s iconic Ship restaurant

The same company that demolished the Hilltop Steak House got to work wrecking The Ship on Monday.

The Ship Restaurant in Lynnfield is being torn down by New Hampshire Demolition, the same company that tore down the Hill Top.

LYNNFIELD — The grim reaper of Route 1’s landmarks struck again with the take-down of the iconic Ship Restaurant.

New Hampshire Demolition tore down the nautical structure Monday and plans to spend the next few weeks cleaning up the property. It’s the latest on a list of landmarks properties the company has introduced to the wrecking ball.

The team tore down Saugus’s well-known Hilltop Steakhouse in 2015.

“We did the Hilltop a few years ago and we left up that historical sign,” said Kevin Doherty, who seeks out projects for the company to pursue. “That was like a three month project to get it down and clean it all.”

The company sought after the demolition of Weylu’s Restaurant two years ago, and for Route 1 Mini Golf & Batting Cages earlier this year, but were outbid on both projects.

“I like doing the landmarks for the exposure,” said Doherty. “Demolition is forever, but there’s always going to be something else to take its place. Nobody wants to see them go, but they don’t have the time or money for the upkeep. It’s a sad thing to see them go, but the upkeep is too much for people.”

His penchant for tearing down iconic properties can lead to interesting calls, Doherty said. Over the weekend, a woman who was married at the Ship called to request a piece of memorabilia. She met Doherty to hand off a piece off a red board Monday morning.

He said he understands the allure, and has a cupola with a weathervane from the Hilltop in his own backyard.

The Ship Restaurant property is owned by Ship Mall LLC, a division of Allston-based Micozzi Management Inc. It was last purchased in 2007 for $16.5 million. Plans for redevelopment include a 2,500-square-foot freestanding branch building for East Boston Savings Bank, 7,500-square-feet of retail space, and a 2,500-square-foot drive-up restaurant and coffee shop.

The entire project is expected to take four to five months to complete, according to attorney Ted Regnante, who represents the site developers.

The Lynnfield Historical Commission voiced support of the project in the spring after several touches meant to honor the legacy of the nautical-themed building were added to the site’s architectural plans.
The mast and other characteristics of the ship, including windows and glass from the second floor; the existing eagle and six stars; and the red and blue color scheme, will be included in the new construction.

To Doherty’s surprise, the ship’s mast was crafted from a plastic pipe, and not wood and metal as the crew had anticipated. Most items that customers would recognize were auctioned off prior to the start of demolition, he said.

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