Old factory up for sale in Peabody, marketed for 120 apartments

Current zoning doesn’t allow housing

The Salem News | By John Castelluccio
May 12, 2017

PEABODY — Jon Turco’s colleagues on the City Council showed little surprise Thursday night when he informed them the owner of the rundown L. Fine factory off Lynnfield Street had just put the property up for sale.

It was what many of the councilors expected would happen when the issue of Commonwealth Tank’s blatant violations of environmental and other city regulations at the site came to a head this past winter. They were skeptical that any cleanup would occur under the company’s ownership, despite a stringent cleanup order from the state Department of Environmental Protection.

What did come as a surprise, however, was that the new real estate listing stated the former mill building could be redeveloped into 120 apartments.

“The site consists of three parcels totaling 12 acres with a 96,000-square-foot former mill building located on site that is ideal for a multifamily conversion into brick and beam style apartments, one of the most sought after types of product by today’s renters,” the listing states.

There’s a problem with that pitch, Turco noted — the property is zoned for industrial uses only. Housing is not allowed.

He wanted an opinion from City Solicitor Mike Smerczynski on the legality of marketing the property that way.
In addition to a zoning change, the site would require extensive environmental remediation before any housing could be built there.

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