This letter was originally submitted for an August meeting in which this project was held for discussion when more SRA members could be present, it was resubmitted on Sept. 14, 2022.
August 10, 2022
Ms. Grace Napolitano, Chair
Salem Redevelopment Authority
City of Salem
98 Washington Street
Salem, MA 01970
Dear Ms. Napolitano,
As you know, Historic Salem has been following the project at 252 Bridge Street since the city reviews began. After attending the July 27 DRB meeting and reviewing the DRB decision we want to highlight some places that we find particularly important as the review of this project proceeds.
Knowing that material quality and detailing can make or break the final appearance of a project, we highlight that both the Downtown Renewal Plan and the adjacent North River Canal Corridor Plan ask for natural and high-quality materials that are influenced by what is found in nearby buildings. We have advocated for the use of natural materials for this project in the past, and continue to believe that a building that employs materials used in the nearby historic buildings would best serve to integrate with and complement the building’s setting.
It was acknowledged by the applicant and the DRB that future meeting would thoroughly address the quality and detailing of the materials. We look forward to this discussion.
As Historic Salem has oft repeated, the long-standing buildings of Salem’s respected downtown offer no shortage of inspiration to add a sense of place and interest to the larger expanses of this inevitably monumental building. We ask the SRA to request that the design team be clear about the following:
A key part of this project is the renovation of the historic Courthouses and the promised plaza on the opposite corner of Bridge and Washington Street. It would make sense to see the site plan of this parcel in relationship to the Courthouse sites.
Bridge Street façade
We second the DRB request that further design work be done on the monochromatic gray-on-gray material palette on this elevation.
Bridge Street Walkability
We also ask, once again, that the site design include a cohesive connection at the base of this elevation and the adjacent sidewalk. This should include landscape design that creates a pedestrian friendly streetscape and replacement of the existing guardrail with something that complements the building.
As this new construction phase of the project proceeds it is important that plans for the historic Courthouses at 32 and 34 Federal Streets be progressing as well. We would appreciate an update on the timeline for redevelopment from the applicant.
Thank you for considering these comments and for the effort spent in reviewing this important project.
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