Swampscott will purchase Hawthorne Restaurant property

This article was published 1 year(s) and 4 month(s) ago.

Town Meetinh members prepare for Monday night's session. (Alena Kuzub)

SWAMPSCOTT  — In a surprise motion to postpone the discussion of the capital improvement projects for the fiscal year 2023 indefinitely at Monday’s annual town meeting, the Select Board announced a plan to acquire Hawthorne restaurant property and two wooded parcels of land adjacent to Archer Street.

“These purchases are not small things. This will represent the biggest purchases of open space that the Town of Swampscott has done in at least 50 years,” said Peter Spellios, a member of the Select Board, who made the motion. “These are not generational. These are forever purchases. These are once in a century purchases.” 

Swampscott has only 19 acres of remaining buildable land left, said Spellios, which is only about 1.2 percent of the total town land area.

First, Spellios announced plans to purchase two plots of open land on both sides of Archer Street, which together make up 9.5 acres or 50 percent of the remaining buildable land in town. This means that the town is looking to buy the land from the developers of the Atlantic Bay View project that have recently resubmitted their application with MassHousing for a Chapter 40B development.

The town has reached a tentative agreement with the owners of the 5.03-acre lot across from would-be Atlantic Bay View Residences, Spellios said, and will continue seeking the purchase of the second lot.

The town would use this land to establish a new forest, which would be undevelopable forever, Spellios said.

The third parcel the Select Board is proposing to purchase is occupied by Hawthorne By the Sea restaurant at 149 Humphrey St. and belongs to Athanas family.

“After 18 months of long and tough negotiation, at 3.45 p.m. this afternoon the Town of Swampscott’s Select Board entered into a tentative agreement with the Athanas family to purchase Hawthorne by the Sea,” reported Spellios.

The Town Meeting members met this announcement with audible delight and a long ovation.

The town had learned that the Athanas family was negotiating with a Boston-based development firm to sell the property, said Spellios, and decided to engage with the owners and talk with them about the future of the property.

To discuss further details of the acquisition of these lots, the Select Board will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 19, and will put the subject for the Town Meeting approval at a special town meeting on June 15.

“I look forward to the robust conversation this committee is going to have starting Thursday. You being part of that conversation is really, really important,” Spellios said.

The majority of the Town Meeting voted to approve the motion to postpone discussion of the capital improvement projects for the fiscal year 2023 indefinitely to consider the Select Board’s proposal.

Alena Kuzub can be reached at [email protected].


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