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Former Peabody mill building for sale: $3 million

Following strong neighborhood opposition to housing at the abandoned L. Fine Factory on Lynnfield Street, the owner has listed the sprawling property for sale at $3 million.

“The idea of housing at the mill was not well-received,” said Charles T. Hinds, broker-owner of Hinds Associates, the listing broker. “Now, we’re marketing it for uses that comply with zoning. It’s only been listed for a few days, but we’re getting lots of interest from people pitching all different uses.”

The three-story brick building was built in 1877 on 12 acres overlooking Craig’s Pond in South Peabody. The 90,000-square-foot mill with its 13-foot ceilings and wood beams is zoned for lab space, light manufacturing, distribution warehouse, or tech offices.

Ward 1 City Councilor Jon Turco, who can see the factory from his home, said the building has been an eyesore for as long as he can remember.  

“I hope they do sell it,” he said. “It’s a terrible place for housing but it could be perfect for a number of commercial uses.”

The owner, he said, has not exactly been a friend to the city.

Peabody’s latest list of tax delinquents says 143 Lynnfield Street LLC owes nearly $16,000 in back taxes, according to city records.

In the early days, it was once home to the Vaughn Machine Co. The firm later went bankrupt and was taken over by Turner Tanning Machinery Co., according to Grace’s Guide.

The Fine family acquired it in the 1990s, according to The Warren Group, the Boston real estate tracker. They sold the property in 2003 to Vaughn Station LLC for $450,000. 

In 2007, it was flipped to Onnig Beurekjian, trustee of ANO Realty Trust, for $1.35 million.  But Beurekjian was forced to sell the parcel at auction due to failure to pay its creditors. It was purchased for $600,000 by 143 Lynnfield Street LLC, managed by Kevin and Christine Hoag, also known as Commonwealth Tank. That’s the entity that’s selling it today. 

The building, which is assessed at $140,000, has been gutted, and is in need of total rehabilitation, Hinds said. 

The cost to renovate the factory could be as much as $12.3  million, according to an analysis by Mark Boe, who wrote his dissertation on the property, “Adaptive Reuse Strategies for the Mill” two years ago.

In addition, the property still requires some cleanup of contaminants and no one is sure how much it will cost.

Winn Cos., one of the nation’s largest multifamily management companies in the nation which recently purchased the 284-unit Tannery I Apartments on Crowninshield Street, considered buying the mill about five years ago. But the economics of project did not make sense, according to Michael O’Brien, the company’s executive vice president.

Still, Turco, who said he has been inside the property many times, is convinced the historic property can’t be saved.

He noted the support beams look vulnerable, the windows are uncovered, and it’s been exposed to the weather for years. 

“There’s no hope of saving it,” he said. “I think its a tear down.”


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