Sunday, April 26, 2009

Salem Jail Renovation—Finally!

After three years, after many delays, I was wondering if the Salem Jail project would actually happen.  Three years ago, I got a notice in my building, which uses the Jail for overflow parking, that the lot would be closed.  Obviously not, as this picture in late March shows:

We got another notice:

When I attended the last meeting of the Planning Board in March, people were optimistic that the deal would close.  Was it for real this time?

Apparently, yes!

As also reported by Globe North, New Boston Ventures has finally closed on the Salem Jail.  There will be apartments, which could be converted to condos after five years, a restaurant (one restaurant, not multiple as the Globe implies) and a museum.

I’ve posted about the Jail before, with very much mixed feelings ("Salem Jail developer switching from condos to apartments", "Salem Jail Visit" and "Salem Jail Update".)

I even filmed the inside of the Jail!

(By the way, I have asked Dave Gauthier to reschedule the full documentary I did for air on SATV.  Since it is evergreen programming for Salem, I gave SATV perpetual permission to rerun it at various times, including Halloween, and now.)

I’m expecting and fearing my future neighbors may be insecure and obsessed with historical value;  some wise-ass on the Salem News discussion boards already explained that the Jail residents would see the bypass road, apartment buildings, and my own elderly apartment complex.

Thanks.  I’m proud to have lowered property values in Salem since 1963, the Common since 1985 and downtown since 1995!

Despite that, I have no animosity towards the developers.  I’m glad the building is being preserved;  it became one of my favorite places when I filmed it last spring, despite its sad history.  We’ve seen so many promising projects die in Salem because we had to have them perfect when we could not possibly get that, that I’m glad to see one project go forward in this economy (which is not over the hump by any measure.)

I had a nice chat with the developers after the planning board meeting, and an invitation to stop by the construction trailer to get permission for pictures.  I’m planning on recording the project as it unfolds, and scheduling a site visit with the Salem Commission on Disabilities when the project progresses to completion.


J2 said...

This is news on many emotional sides for me. I just joined a bright and upcoming paranormal investigation team called G.C.I. Gavin Cromwell Investigations. I was hoping to be able to get 1 last investigation in before progress destroyed a historical, obsolete building. My grandfather worked in the Salem jail for years upon years. I was hoping maybe I could document some evidence of any intelligent hauntings. oh well looks like I missed my oppourtunity.

Twitch said...

I sort of hoped that it would of stayed, I am quite a fan of old abandoned buildings, and this one in particular was my favorite. It always makes me sad when they nice places get converted into housing. Maybe if they preserved it it would of been nicer. I hardly call gutting the thing and just keeping the outside preserving.. unless these housing units are actually just the jail cells.