Real estate owner Peter Heaney is planning to convert a 102-year-old former Boys & Girls Club building in Worcester, Mass., to self-storage and, eventually, apartments. The historical structure at 2 Ionic Ave. has been vacant for 10 years and was nearly demolished in 2012 before a local historical commission intervened, according to the source.
The 40,000-square-foot building is largely in disrepair, with major water damage from leaking and collapsed portions of the roof. Heaney purchased the property last November for $130,000. "It's an absolutely gorgeous building, and we're very excited to have the opportunity to bring it back to life and give it another life for the next century to come," he told the source. "I feel lucky to be the building's steward at this point."
Initially converting the space to self-storage will allow Heaney to stabilize the structure and generate income before converting it to affordable housing in a second phase, he told the historical commission last week.
Previous owner Whiz Kids Development LLC planned to convert the building into 21 apartment units in 2011 but wound up filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year, the source reported.
The main, three-story portion of the building was constructed in 1914, and a 1.5-story boxing gym was built off of Madison Street about 1925. A projector room built in the 1940s will have to be demolished. Heaney plans to build a three-story, glass elevator shaft on the side of the building where the boxing gym was located. Four loading bays will also be installed, according to the source.
Heaney also intends to restore the exterior of the building. Faux-window inserts will be placed in each window opening because the windows aren’t original to the building and replacing them with historically accurate matches would be cost-prohibitive, he told the source. The replacements will provide security while the building serves as self-storage.
The historic commission is enthusiastic about the project. “It’s a fantastic project and a really interesting way to look at how to develop these kind of buildings that have sat for so long,” said commission chairman Andrew Shveda. “It’s a way to reclaim them from the rubbish pile, so to speak.”
“I think it’s a great project, and I’m looking forward to seeing the work begin,” said commission member Timothy McCann. “It’s a very important building, and it looks like we’re going in the right direction with it.”
- Telegram & Gazette: Former Worcester Boys & Girls Club Eyed for Storage, Housing