As the vote approaches tonight on the re-zoning of two Storey Avenue lots; it might be good to clarify a few things. There is a lot of anger out there against CVS. It comes from the feeling that a large conglomerate is pushing its way into our community and that has caused a lot of animosity. The roots of this attitude came because CVS on Pond Street did an expansion in which local businesses were pushed out. The disregard for local community interests has caused a lot of people to be rubbed the wrong way.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t CVS’s fault. It was Newburyport Development. CVS wanted to expand and ND, eyeing a steady income from a large franchise, disregarded the servicing of the community for the sake of better cash flow. They are responsible for disregarding the interests of the community.
And Newburyport Development is at it again. They want to trash our heritage tourism by evicting the tenants of the historic Fowle’s. Why? They can get a better source of revenue from a high-volume eating establishment. In this case, they could care less about our heritage tourism industry – it’s all about increasing the cash flow! They knew the preservation easement had expired on the building and they have decided to go for it.
Unfortunately, New England Development which is the real estate development giant is going to suffer for it. ND is setting the stage that any such work on the Western Waterfront is going to have a huge resistance from those who want to preserve our City. New England Development is going to wonder why and not realize until too late that ND has worked hard to lay the groundwork for this animosity.
For those not informed, Steve Karp came to Newburyport on the invite of the man who transformed rundown Nantucket into the World Heritage Site it is today.
You see, Walter Beinecke, jr. developed Nantucket by first pursuing historic preservation. He said, “Preservation is enlightened self-interest”. He realized that by preserving and benefiting the local community, he could merge commercial and community into a powerful money-making enterprise. He also knew that money wasn’t the end all of everything and knew community improvement would translate into a tremendous benefit for all parties.
It was Mr. Beinecke after melding Nantucket into the international site it is today, introduced his partner Steven Karp to Newburyport. He wanted to see the same success repeated on the mainland. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2004. Karp has depended on his local representative and Newburyport Development to pave the way for a repeat in our fair city.
And they have failed miserably. Instead of aggressively reaching out to Newburyport Preservation Trust, they have sought raw enterprise instead. Unless they change their attitude soon, so much resistance will occur that Karp, who doesn’t have a vested interest in Newburyport, will simply abandon the effort and pull out.
THAT DOESN’T BENEFIT ANYONE!
If Newburyport Development doesn’t change its business plans, we will not see anything happening in the Western Waterfront Overlay District. If ND won’t work on supporting community preservation, then New England Development needs to start and start soon.
PS. I will do a post this week to introduce to Newburyport, Walter Beinecke, Jr. and how he transformed Nantucket. We need to convince Karp to repeat that successful formula here!