Cap'n Jack's Talks Start Tonight
Historical Commission members and Cap'n Jack's developers will gather in a special meeting to talk about development plans for three Humphrey Street buildings.
A little more than a month after Historical Commission members delayed demolition of Cap'n Jack's Inn's three Humphrey Street buildings for up to nine months the members will meet with the property's developers.
The Commission and developers Bruce Paradise and Barry Turkanis are scheduled for a special meeting — open to the public — at 7 pm Wednesday in Town Hall's first-floor conference room.
Commission members said at their regular meeting Tuesday that they will look for ways to compromise with the developers, who plan to tear down the three buildings and construct 15 condo units on the site.
The developers have the approvals they need to go forward with construction and no longer face a court challenge over zoning, said Historical Commission Chairman Jean Reardon.
The developers' only hurdle to starting construction soon is the town's demolition delay bylaw, which gives the Commission up to nine months to reach an agreement on preserving the buildings or a portion of them.
The clock on the nine months started ticking Nov. 1.
After the time is up the developers can do as they please.
Developers say the only way they can get a return on their investment is to build from the ground up.
Bruce Paradise said earlier that it would be too costly under the current plan to preserve building elements and construct the condos.
Commission members say they are fulfilling their duty by trying to preserve the town's remaining historic resources.
Members say the properties including the Federal-style 1835 Cap'n Jack's main building generate a sense of place and history in a town once renown for summer resorts.
Regardless of how the talks with the developers turn out the Commission plans to seek historic district status for parts of Humphrey Street.
Commission member Sylvia Belkin said there that 220 towns and cities in Massachusetts have historic districts.
The first step in trying to secure that status for Swampscott will be for the Commission to go to selectmen.
Commission members said they will ask the board to put them on an upcoming agenda.
Selectmen must approve a process that would culminate in a town meeting vote on historic district designation, according to the Commission.