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Ipswich News Replacement Heads to ZBA

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Ipswich -  

If you go

What: Zoning Board of Appeals meeting
Why: To discuss plans for old Ipswich News site on Market Street
When: May 21, 7:30 p. m.
Where: Town Hall, Room A


The backhoe and dump trucks have come and gone. The last of the debris -- broken boards, charred chunks of wood, a twisted magazine stand, partially buried pages flapping in the wind -- all scooped and carted away. The Ipswich News building now belongs to history.

A fire officially destroyed the town icon, but maybe it just did a little faster what wireless Internet would have done anyway.

Shawn and Carrie Cayer, he the owner of Windhill Realty and she a Realtor, now represent the future of the Market Street lot.

And the couple doesn't plan to keep the land empty for long.

The Cayers plan to buy the property from Barbara Allen, owner of the land and former proprietor of Ipswich News, and close on the deal shortly.

Shawn, an Ipswich-based developer, Carrie and Ipswich architect Matthew Cummings have collaborated on plans for a three-story building that will fill the 2,144 square-foot lot.

The Cayers need the Zoning Board of Appeals to approve the plans, because the building would extend the lot line by 160 square feet. The board will hear the appeal at its meeting May 21.

The Cayers plan professional office space for the first two floors and a two-bedroom residential unit on the top floor -- they haven't decided if it will be an apartment or a condominium.

"We've had several inquiries already about the office space," said Shawn, but said he still wasn't sure if he would move his Market Street office to the new building. "We're considering our options," he said.

The building itself combines elements from three architectural periods in Ipswich: Colonial, Federal and mill influences from the late 19th century.

Each era dominates, depending on the direction from which the building is viewed.

The Gambrel roof lines echo Colonial architecture and show most prominently from the side; the building's rear has the flat lines and roof of the late 1890s mill-era in Ipswich, which Cummings designed to blend into the townscape as viewed from the Choate Bridge and Riverwalk; and the front has the clean geometry and two pediment dormers that break the gambrel roof more in keeping with post-Colonial, Federal-style architecture popular after the Revolutionary War, when America was establishing its own identity.

The building will be 22 feet wide at the front and narrow to 14 feet wide at the rear and be 90 feet deep.

The couple needs the zoning variance to square off the back and keep the building in context with its neighbors and to make the most use of the lot.

"It's a very small footprint and we want to maximize the space," said Shawn.

"This is a long-term hold for us," Carrie said. "We both live and grew up in Ipswich. We saw an opportunity going forward. Something that's not vinyl sided, something that will become a staple in the community."

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