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(rshsdepot) Amesbury, MA

From the Amesbury News=2E=2E=2E

Housing project moves ahead: 19th century downtown buildings to be
transformed into living, commercial space=20

By David Rogers / DROGERS_@_CNC=2ECOM=20
Friday, January 31, 2003

Transforming the former Elm Street train depot into affordable housing got=

one step closer Monday as the town guided prospective contractors through
the building=2E

Community Development Director Jennifer Raitt said about 20 contractors
from as far away as Brookline and Southern New Hampshire toured 32 Elm St=2E=

and the adjacent 26-28 Elm St=2E building=2E

The town and the building's owner, Phil Satenstein, want to convert the
upper floors of 26-28 Elm St=2E, and the train depot into five rental unit=
of low to moderate income housing=2E There will also be a floor of additio=
commercial space for rent in the depot building=2E

"I feel pretty confident that we'll get some bids that we can work with,"
Satenstein said=2E

Raitt said she expects an acceptable bid by mid-to-late February=2E
Satenstein said he would like construction to begin in two months=2E

Satenstein would not comment on how much he would charge in rent=2E

The project was first made public last year and has received Planning Boar=
and Massachusetts Historical Society approval=2E The appeal period for the=

Planning Board's December approval ended Jan=2E 8, paving the way for this=

week's walkthrough=2E

Satenstein said the town first approached him about converting the
buildings two years ago and considering he was paying taxes on empty space=
he was enthusiastic about the project=2E

"It's a win-win situation all around," Satenstein said=2E

Mayor David T=2E Hildt called the project vital to enhancing the downtown=2E=

"As many people know, a lot of our downtown buildings have second and thir=
floors that have been underutilized throughout the years; so it makes sens=
to adopt a strategy of adaptive reuse of older buildings," Hildt said=2E

A longtime Amesbury resident, Satenstein is also the current owner of 4-6
Water St=2E, home to Century 21 and other businesses=2E

Although Satenstein will be reaping the monetary benefits of the new units=
the town is chipping in more than $500,000 to help offset renovation costs=
The bulk of that, $400,000, comes from the state's Housing Development
Support Program=2E The rest comes courtesy of the town's involvement in th=
North Shore HOME Consortium=2E The consortium funds come with the stipulat=
that the units remain available to low and moderate incomes for 20 years=2E=

Raitt said since the project is aimed toward low and moderate income
tenants, the town is able to use state money to help fund a private

The train depot at 32 Elm St=2E was built around 1872 by the Boston and Ma=
Railroad who ran passenger service through Amesbury until 1936=2E It was
originally located on the opposite side of the Back River, a tributary of
the Powow River until it was moved to Elm Street at the turn of the 20th

After stopping rail service, it was converted into a farmer's feed and
supply store before it was connected to J=2ES=2E Auto Parts in the 1960s=2E=

Built about 1884, the three-story 26-28 Elm Street was likely a tenement
before transforming into the Powow House, a combination hotel and cafeteri=
in the 1930s=2E The building has been the current home of J=2ES=2E Auto Pa=
since 1956=2E

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