And now for some good (re-)development news: the conversion of the 1895 Newmark’s Building on Essex Street into the new Hotel Salem, a 44-room boutique hotel complete with rooftop bar, ground-floor restaurant, and shuffleboard in the basement. The Hotel Salem will join The Merchant as the second Salem hostelry to be operated by Lark Hotels, which manages a string of unique properties in New England and California. The renderings invite one to imagine the Essex Street pedestrian mall actually working; in fact, Lark’s “chief inspiration officer” (what a great job title!) Dawn Hagin specifically referred to it last week in an article on the new hotel in Boston Magazine: A lot of New England towns, or towns across America, don’t have pedestrian walking malls anymore, says Hagin. And the fact that it still exists in Salem, and this anchor store that used to be there—which was the heart of that—could be embraced and brought out today with what we are doing with the Hotel Salem—it is very exciting to us.
Well of course the pedestrian mall was a 1970s development, but no matter, Lark clearly chooses its properties for their unique place-specific character, rather than imposing some generic corporate vision on them: Hagan goes on to explain how the “bones of the building” and its mid-century department store vibe is going to influence the new hotel’s interiors. This building was at the “heart” of a very vibrant Essex Street, as a proliferation of postcards indicate (it’s the fourth building on the right in the c. 1910 view below). Even though everyone refers to it as the Newmark’s Building because of the ghost sign on the side and the long-standing art deco lettering in front, it was actually built for the Naumkeag Clothing Company in 1895–they moved from down the street and seem to have occupied the building for several decades until Newmark’s took up residence–and business.
It’s really quite a building: I don’t think I ever really appreciated it because of the incongruous first-floor facade but now I can’t wait for its big reveal! This is a project that appears to be “opening up” to Essex Street–and Salem– rather than turning away.
The future Hotel Salem, opening summer 2017 @ 209 Essex Street, Salem.
February 5th, 2017 at 10:04 am
Great piece Donna! Thank you. I have shared your blog with my mom (in KY) and my in-laws (closer, Ipswich!), and they rave about it. Such a treasure!
February 5th, 2017 at 10:12 am
Thanks, Rick! I appreciate you and their support! As you know, Salem is pretty inspirational…..
February 5th, 2017 at 10:31 am
February 5th, 2017 at 2:21 pm
I was happy to learn about this redevelopment. I always loved this late 19th century building. So happy to see that it will have a new life. I wish the owners much success. These are the kinds of projects that should be encouraged instead of the big box buildings shown in your previous article.
February 5th, 2017 at 2:48 pm
I thought these posts made a nice contrast; I hate to be so negative about development so I try to counter with positive redevelopment!
March 22nd, 2017 at 8:30 am
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