By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,284)
Earlier this week the Historic Preservation Board got its first look at preliminary plans to revitalize 416-420 Fore Street – a building best known for the fire that broke out in an Indian restaurant on Wharf Street – shutting it down and several other businesses – permanently. The ground floor has been vacant since the three-alarm fire that began there.
Last year, Jonathan Cohen and Jon Hutchinson, d/b/a 416 Fore Street, LLC., purchased the historic property owned by Joseph Soley, a major property owner in the Old Port. Just prior to the fire, the property owner had been served with eleven violations, including missing smoke detectors, open wiring and an inadequate number of exits from the building. To some, the fire did not come as a surprise given Soley’s controversial history with the city.
Although the John Potter Block of 1828 escaped the Great Fire of 1866, the building has undergone many renovations – before the HP ordinance went into effect in 1990. “Some of it however, is attributable to unpermitted work undertaken by tenants in recent years,” wrote Deb Andrews, HP Preservation Program Manager, in a report to the board dated 1/15/15. Because not much of the original fabric of the building remains, that leaves some leeway for the current owners to introduce a more contemporary exterior to the building – and that’s what the architects have done – handsomely. .
The space has been leased, but the owners have not announced who they are. Pending the approval of the HP Board soon, owners hope to open the businesses this spring.