Cap'n Jack's Demo Delay Deal Reextended

A majority of selectmen encouraged the Historical Commission to reconsider lifting its demolition delay on the historic Cap'n Jack's properties in exchange for something of value to the town.


The owners of the three Cap'n Jack's buildings on Humphrey Street have again offered to restore the town train station if the lifts the remaining five-month delay to demolition of the Cap'n Jack's buildings.

On Wednesday, several selectmen including Jill Sulllivan encouraged the Historical Commission to reconsider the deal, allowing developers Bruce Paradise and Barry Turkanis to tear down the three structures and build approved condo units now instead of when the delay runs out on Aug. 1.

Sullivan said that to refuse the offer at an impasse would be a missed opportunity since the developers are willing to spend $300,000 on restoring the train station.

Commission member Susan Munafo and Commission Chairman Jean Reardon explained why they did not accept the offer the last time it was made.

There was no guarantee that the developer would restore the train station if the commission lifted the delay and the buildings were demolished, Munafo said. 

Paradise said that he and his partner would not restore the building without a longterm lease agreement from the building's owner, the MBTA, she said.

The agreement would be a 50-year lease for $1 a year that allows the developers to sublet the property as a business venture.

The chairman of the Historical Commission said the other argument against accepting the developer's deal was that it did not address the matter at hand  —protecting the town's remaining link to its history as a summer resort and preserving the character of Humphrey Street.

She said the board would talk at its next meeting, March 6, about a proposal to have the main building moved to another site, perhaps out of state.

It remains to be seen whether the commission will take another vote on the developer's train station proposal.

The demolition delay, backed by a town by-law, prevents the developers from tearing down the three Cap'n Jack buildings until Aug. 1, unless an agreement is struck between the developers and the commission. 

Paradise and Turkanis have bought the Cap'n Jack's Inn property for $3.5 million and want to get started on the project.

In closing, Selectmen's Chairman Matt Strauss asked commission members to seek a mutually beneficial agreement with developers. 

David Whelan March 01, 2012 at 12:06 PM
How is it a benefit to Swampscott to move a so-called historical building to another state?
george depaolo March 01, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Thinking the same thing Dave............
Sandie Bock March 01, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Oh, so lets see if we understand how the town is "helped" by the developers who bought the Captn Jacks and will renovate the train station if the hold on demolition is lifted. They, Paridise and Turkanis will renovate or tear down the trainstation IF they get the space to use for a lease of $1 a YEAR for 99 years or something. AND this helps the town how??? What does it add to the town coffers? NOTHING. NO taxes since they are "leasing" for a dollar a year. And if their "business" goes well that will be good and if not, it will be abandoned and back to square one. They have no investment really in the building getting a lease of $1 a year. Somehow, it is win win for them and not for the town!!
David Whelan March 01, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Sandie: The owner of the RR depot is not the town. The MBTA owns the property. The Town of Swampscott gets no benefit from having the depot located in Swampscott as of today. If it is renovated, is it not possible that some benefit would accrue to the area, those that commute, and the town in general? After all, isn't a renovated and functional building in the best interest of the community? By the way, there apparently is an open RFP to anyone that wants to renovate and operate the RR depot as some sort of business. Have you ever wondered why no one has stepped up and taken on the project? My guess is that it is not a viable business so Bruce has stepped up and essentially helped out the community. For that some view him as a bad guy?
Lina Umansky March 01, 2012 at 07:51 PM
How is he helping the community?? He is saying that they will ONLY renovate if they get the 50 year deal for a dollar a year... And ONLY if he can sublease it on his own terms.. I'm sure he won't be subleasing it for a dollar a year!!! That shouldn't be legal to even ask for!! So it's just another business venture for them, Bruce doesn't care about the town, Bruce only cares about that station if it benefits him.. Good for historical society!! Stand your ground!!!
David Whelan March 01, 2012 at 07:58 PM
So you would prefer that the RR depot sit there for another 20 years and rot into a pile of sawdust? BTW, if the MBTA owns the property, how is it that they get to step away from a property and allow it to go into such a state of disrepair? If I were a developer, Swampscott may be the last place I would invest my capital. Good luck to Bruce Paradise. A good guy who should have taken his funds to Marblehead.
David Whelan March 01, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Lina: Another thought. Care to guess whether the cost of materials necessary to do the Capt Jack's or RR depot station work have gone up or down with the higher fuel costs? Capt Jacks is a group of non descript old buildings that somehow has become important to a bygone era. What's next?
Citizen Swamp March 01, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Agree w/ Mr. Whalen. A renovated train station would certainly have economic benefit to the community. Any type of business located there would have a small payroll, generate sales tax and most likely improve the value of adjoining properties. Question, does anyone know if Town Meeting can compel the Historical Commision to reverse their position.
My thoughts March 03, 2012 at 12:01 AM
the restoration of the train station may be a catalyst for other development around that area. It clearly will brings taxes to the town. if not, no one will offer what these guys have offered anyways. Amazing a small group like on the historical committee can make such bad decisions at this point. They tried but for this project it is just to late. Ok to admitt that. If you think this decision is bad, can't wait to see what happens as they try to develop "historical districts" all over town. I would never be in favor of this group making such major changes for the Town. The error of Captain Jacks is over, whether in a month or 5 months. I really will not be happy with all this site work in the heart of the summer but we all can thank the Historical Committee.


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