PEABODY — A downtown eyesore for more than 30 years is about to become a $5 million showcase with apartments and shops.
Nikolay “Nick” Polinovskiy is transforming an abandoned lot, where fire destroyed a leather works building in the 1980s, with a brick-and-wood-frame complex offering a dozen apartments and ground-floor retail.
The 37-year-old builder who emigrated in 2002 from Novosibirsk, Siberia, the Russian province encompassing most of northern Asia, bought the one-half acre parcel six years ago for $250,000.
But that was just the beginning. The project took years of planning and involved the movement of 5,000 tons of contaminated fill at a cost of nearly $500,000, he said.
“It took us a few years to get approval and the same amount of time to find the right lender, Eastern Bank, to finance the project,” said Polinovskiy. “The timing is good. Peabody wants to be like or be better than Salem and that’s a good thing.”
Last year, the Revere resident borrowed $3.2 million to build the project. When the three-story building is completed in September, it will include 6,500 square feet of retail space, 10 three-bedroom, and a pair of two-bedroom apartments, all with two baths.
Joyce Cucchiara, a broker at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, said the commercial space is available at $22 per square foot.
The two-bedroom apartments are expected to start at $2,500 and the three-bedroom apartments will be “slightly more,” Polinovskiy said.
Parking for 40 vehicles will be available, including 18 in the building’s covered lower level.
The dozen apartments become available as the city’s apartment vacancy rate is 2.7 percent, making it tough to find a place to rent, according to new data from Co-Star Group Inc. a Washington, D.C.-based company, with offices in Boston.
Year-to-date, CoStar reported the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Peabody was $2,109. That’s up 5.5 percent from the same period a year ago when the average rent was $1,999. Rents did not rise as much in three-bedroom units. From January through mid June, the average rent for the larger units was $2,472, up from $2,389 a year ago, a 3.4 percent increase
Polinovski’s project is not the only one underway or in the planning stages in Peabody. At the other end of Main Street, the finishing touches are being put on 20 apartments at One Main Street; developers of the parcel behind the Boston Sports Club on Route 1 have planned 60 condominiums, each to be sold for between $300,000–$500,000. Another 40 units are part of a proposed project governed by Mass. General Law Chapter 40B, the state’s affordable housing measure.
“Development in Peabody goes in spurts,” said Curt Bellavance, the city’s Community Development director. “We are definitely on an uptick now because there’s a lot of excitement and interest in Peabody.”
In addition, he said a $5 million extension of the Riverwalk from Peabody Square to the Salem border is closer to reality.
The 1,600-foot long walkway on the North River is another key to revitalizing downtown, Bellavance added.