March 02, 2001
Dennison demolition faces fight
Historic Commission threatens legal action
By CHARLIE BREITROSE
NEWS STAFF WRITER
FRAMINGHAM — Developers who own the rights to the old Dennison Manufacturing Company complex applied yesterday to tear down the historic Building Number 2.
That action has prompted historic preservationists — who three years ago worked out a compromise to save the building from the wrecking ball — to consider suing to save the building again.
Building Commissioner Joseph Mikielian said he received the request from Rosewood Construction and Triangle Realty Trust to tear down the old jewelry box and stationary factory yesterday. His office has 30 days to respond to the application, Mikielian said, but it may only take a week or two.
Repeated attempts to contact Rosewood were unsuccessful yesterday.
The revelation the Dennison Building could be torn down surfaced at Thursday night’s selectmen meeting. Mikielian said yesterday that building inspectors determined the Dennison Building, located off Howard Street, was unsafe due to water damage and general deterioration of the brick and wood-framed edifice.
" I don’t know how it happened, " said Mikielian, who toured the building with inspectors. " But there has been a lot of water damage to the basement and structural damage. "
The building, which hasn’t been used for about a decade, may be a safety hazard for firefighters should a serious fire occur, Mikielian said.
Laurie Evans-Daly, chairwoman of the Historic Commission, contended her group made a deal with Rosewood to preserve most of the building in return for the developer being able to knock down and redevelop other buildings in the six-building complex.
Evans-Daly said she believes developers have the option of making the building safe for people to occupy, rather than taking the structure down.
State law states in cases where a building is deemed unsafe, owners have the option of demolishing the building or make it safe to be inside the structure, according to Mikielian.
Historic Commission members will meet Monday with Mikielian, Town Counsel Aaron Bikofsky and Town Manager George King to discuss the fate of the Dennison Building.
If something is not worked out, Evans-Daly said the Historic Commission has retained an attorney, who will work pro bono, and is prepared to take legal action.
Dennison Manufacturing played a major role in Framingham’s history, Evans- Daly said, adding that the building is both historically and architecturally important.
" It’s a landmark, " Evans-Daly said. " Dennison was the major employer from the ’20s until (General Motors) came to town in the 1940s.
" Everyone in Framingham worked at Dennison, or knew someone who did. "