UPDATED: Ames Castle Demolished To Make Room For Development

Efforts to preserve historic Catamount Road home are unsuccessful.

UPDATED: At 12:30 p.m. with comments from Marc Ginsburg.

Efforts to preserve Ames Castle officially came to an end Monday, as the historic Catamount Road home was demolished to make room for a small subdivision.

The actual demolition was really just a formality. The home's fate was sealed last month when the property, which included the main house and a servant's quarters on 2.76 acres, were sold by John Sullivan to local developer Marc Ginsburg and Sons, Inc. for $360,000.

The town had most recently assessed the value of the property at $762,400.

Ginsburg, who said the parcel of land is actually between 3.5 and 4 acres, confirmed his plans to build three single-family homes on the property.

The 17-room, 12,781-square foot mansion was and former governor of Mississippi.

Sullivan, who had purchased the property in 1986 for $400,000, had been embroiled in a dispute with town officials over his use of the property for apartments for the past two decades. The court case was settled last year in favor of the town.

Last winter, Sullivan filed an application for demolition, stating that maintaining the home was not financially feasible. He had proposed a "friendly" 40B project, which would have allowed him to keep the property as an affordable housing multi-unit dwelling. The other option, according to his attorney, was to demolish the building and develop the property as a subdivision.

In March, the putting into effect a nine-month moratorium on any demolition. The hope was buy enough time for a deal to be worked out to preserve the home.

According to Steve Sadwick, Tewksbury's director of Community Development, town officials met with Sullivan several times over the next several months but were unable to reach a mutually acceptable deal.

On Nov. 2, Sullivan finalized the deal with Ginsburg, who met with town officials later in the month and shared his plans to demolish Ames Castle. On Nov. 19, the Historic Commission removed the last obstacle by lifting its "preferably preserved" demolition moratorium.

"It wasn’t easy for anyone I think, Marc (Ginsburg) included," said Sadwick. "But in the end it just wasn't financially (practical) to keep it as a single family home."

Ginsburg said all possible options for preserving the building were explored before the decision was made to demiolish the building. He also said efforts were made to remove as much of the historical elements of the building as possible before the demolition.

"It was heartbreaking for me," he said. "But tt just wasn't financially feasible to maintain it as a single-family home. We met with residents of the neighborhood and most of them just wanted it torn down."

Sullivan did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment for this story.

Janellen27 December 16, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Mrs. V: What attacks on Mr. Ginsburg? Specifically, I mean. Perhaps you should talk to people who wanted to participate on the Historical Committee and hear why they, sadly, changed their minds, and wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole! And, maybe that would explain, in part, why the historical aspects of the town have not been better preserved. Perhaps . . .
Janellen27 December 16, 2012 at 01:23 AM
SDFromTewksbury: You wrote, "From another story and another thread, I know you don't like him, but don't come on here and bash him like that when the majority of this town see the good he's done." I know from that other story that you have your own filtered way of interpreting things, which may or may not have anything to do w/the person's words which you are attempting to interpret. And, in that case, most of you were wrong about my words, but. . . . I'll try to forget that mess which was not started by me. . .. . Now, my mentioning your name in my post simply meant that I read your post, and everyone else's, and chose to state that I agreed with the words that I read. But, based on your mishandling of, yet, another one of my intentions and another one of my posts, I throw my hands up and leave it to The Good Lord! Amen! I hardly want to be associate with you, either, after all your misjudgments.
John G December 17, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Does Tewksbury Country Club still let the JV Golf Team use the course? Did Marc fly Santa into the Country Club again for the kids? How'd the Town get have the Stanley Cup for the Day? Did TCC employees help build the 9-11 memorial??
Christian Noel April 24, 2013 at 02:55 PM
I love all these people who care soooo much about Ames Castle after the fact. The story isn't "evil developer destroys historic home". The story is incompetent town government interfered in the private matters of a landlord (Sullivan) by telling him he couldn't continue to rent apartments out. This left him with no choice but to either demolish it himself and rebuild or to sell it to someone else who would tear it down. Part of that is that it is too big to be used as a single dwelling (for most people) and the folks who can fill a place like that wouldn't want to live there given the condition it was in. So the town sealed it's fate. If they had left well enough alone it would still be there more than likely. The historic society types, where were they? There were no fundraisers I heard of to get the historic society the money to buy it when Sullivan put it on the market or even to fix up the place and restore it. Sadly, this is so very typical of Tewksbury.
john smith April 25, 2013 at 12:09 AM
Are you kidding me? You obviously don't know Sullivan. He could have put it on the open market but instead he chose to secretly sell the property for a ridiculously low price knowing that Ginsburg would bulldoze it over. He did this out of spite. If he couldn't have his way he made sure the Castle was gone. Christian Noel you are misinformed, it was not put on the market.


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