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The Saugus dinosaur may have some new neighbors this spring

Developers said the first apartment building at the former Route 1 Mini-Golf site should be open in the Spring. (Photo courtesy Michael Barsamian)

SAUGUS — The first of eight buildings guarded by the orange dinosaur in the $150 million Essex Landing development on Route 1 is nearing completion and residents are expected to move in by spring.

At the top of the hill, just behind the 20-foot, 6,000-pound dinosaur, developers are breaking ground on a second apartment building.

“It will be on the very top back of the hill with views of Revere Beach and downtown Boston,” said developer Michael Barsamian. “We view this location as a 10. It’s close to Boston, it’s close to the airport. It will be close to the new casino. A lot of people don’t look at Saugus as that kind of location, but it’s getting more and more desirable.”

TB Holdings Inc., an entity managed by Barsamian and Michael Touchette, bought a vacant 1.2-acre site next to the golf course in 2013 for $3.3 million, and they closed on the 1.4-acre golf parcel in September for $1.4 million. The project has an overall timeline of five years.

The first building will house either an 8,200-square-foot restaurant with a banquet space, or two smaller restaurants, with one-bedroom apartments on the upper floors, said Barsamian. He hopes to find a middle- to high-end restaurant that serves Italian cuisine.

Behind it will be a free-standing space to house Kane’s Donuts’ third location, a 3,500-square-foot cafe with a drive-through. The family-owned original store is on Lincoln Avenue. Last year they opened at International Place in downtown Boston. The cafe and the combined total of 350 residential units are expected to be open by April, said Barsamian. Each apartment will be listed for $2,200 to $2,500 per month.

An extended stay hotel will be positioned just behind the dinosaur. The Lenox Hotel will partner with developers to create a boutique hotel on site.

The Dinosaur will be refinished with a fresh coat of orange paint and will remain a fixture of the development.

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