By Seth Daniel
The City’s Law Department and the owners of the Bouvier Building – a key property in the City’s plans to re-imagine Everett Square – are working towards an agreement this week in a long-standing square off concerning code violations on the property.
City attorneys and an attorney for the Bouvier family, David Carr, of Arlington, appeared before a judge in Woburn Superior Court last Tuesday, April 18, for another in a long string of appearances related to violations on the property and contempt of a court order.
City officials told the Independent that they are working on an agreement where the Bouviers would fix the violations, clean up the property and then vacate the property.
They said at the April 18 hearing, the judge on the case was looking for them to work out that agreement and then present it to him later.
Many believe that the Bouviers wish to sell the building to a developer, but that has not been confirmed in any conversations with their attorney.
The building is a key focal point of the Everett Square revitalization plan. City officials and planners believe it to be a marquee building that could be saved and developed as part of the enhanced Square plan that includes more open space, wider sidewalks and amenities like outdoor dining.
It is one of about six privately held buildings that are believed to be critical to the overall redevelopment of the square.
According to City records, the situation began in July 2015, when an after-hours club was uncovered in the basement of the building by Everett Police. That discovery also uncovered significant renovations to the basement to create the club, all done allegedly without permits.
That also triggered a request from the Fire Department to have the building fully sprinklered in accordance with laws passed following the Rhode Island Nightclub.
During an inspection in August 2015, City officials discovered that a Theological School had been located on the second floor without any proper permitting. Building Inspector Jim Soper cited that it was an illegal change of use, that electric baseboard heat had been installed without permits, that bathrooms were not done with permits and that there were no smoke detectors or emergency lighting in the school.
The third floor of the structure was found to be in partial collapse due to water damage, with electrical hazards throughout and obstructed egresses. Also, fire escapes and the building’s brick façade may be structurally unstable, and City officials ordered they get an architect/engineer to evaluate the building within 30 days.
That was on Sept. 8, 2015, and to date it still hasn’t been done.
In November 2015, the City filed a request for a preliminary injunction in Superior Court asking the court to force the owners to hire the engineer and repair the unsafe conditions. On March 7, 2016, Judge Gordon agreed with the City, ordering the Bouviers to hire the engineer regarding the fire escapes before March 11, 2016, and to make all repairs within 30 days. The judge also ordered the owners to submit a permit application for repair work to the second floor of the building.
That was more than a year ago, and no action has been taken.