Four Condos to be built at One Washington Square
By Lauren Daley
The local Pella Windows distributor has donated $25,638 (sales tax included) to the historic house that the Waterfront Historic Area League is reconstructing at One Washington Square.
Thanks to Pella Windows and Doors, located at 1325 Airport Road in Fall River— the City of New Bedford and the Waterfront Historic Area League (WHALE), residents of the Washington Square neighborhood in the South End of New Bedford will be getting back an iconic property they lost to arson nearly two years ago: the Queen Anne home located at One Washington Square.
In January 2008, the majestic home was destroyed by arson; a three-alarm fire spread rapidly through the 126-year-old wooden structure, ravaging the building and resulting in a complete demolition of the structure the following day.
The fire occurred just before WHALE was set to take ownership of the abandoned house and begin a full restoration.
WHALE signed a Purchase & Sale agreement with the City to purchase the lot and reconstruct the Queen Anne home. The site of the former Queen Anne home at One Washington Square will become four residential condo units— affordable homeownership is WHALE’s goal.
“This project is about more than just a building—it’s about a neighborhood and its people who want this house back,” said Lisa Bergson, executive director of WHALE.
“WHALE is pleased to answer the call of the neighborhood. One Washington Square was a wonderful Queen Anne property and WHALE is excited about taking on another ‘impossible’ project that will help revitalize this historic neighborhood. This significant donation from Pella Windows will help make this project a reality. It’s donations of services, expertise and products such as windows for the entire house that will allow us to complete this worthwhile community project,” Bergson said.
Pella Windows will only charge WHALE $5,000 for the $30,638 in windows.
“We strongly believe in WHALE as an organization, and specifically, in what they’re doing at One Washington Square,” said Charlie Milot, CEO of Pella. “We are honored to be able to help with such a noble effort.”
In addition to the window donation, WHALE has received significant donations of product, expertise and services from local businesses and its Board. Board member and certified architect Christopher “Kit” Wise of Wise Surma Jones Architects has donated all the architectural services for the project. Board President Peter Hawes will serve as the general contractor of the project. Other businesses who have donated to the project to date include those from ASAP Engineering, Prime Engineering, Tim DeCoster, Plumber’s Supply, Dave Medeiros, R. P. Valois & Co., and Joyce D. Lopes Realty.
WHALE will be working with students from the Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational High School to complete this project. “This is a great way to expose our next generation of craftsmen to historic preservation” said Bergson, “and the challenges and intricacies of Queen Anne architecture. It also gives the students an invaluable hands-on learning experience and they get to participate in an exciting neighborhood revitalization project.”
In addition to the reconstruction of One Washington Square, WHALE is completing four mini-grant projects in the Washington Square neighborhood for the exterior rehabilitation of historic homes. The first project was completed in December.
“The mini-grant program is part of WHALE’s comprehensive approach to improving the livability of the Washington Square neighborhood and the quality of life for its residents,” said Bergson, WHALE executive director.
“It is a great way for WHALE to give homeowners in the Washington Square neighborhood a little help caring for their historic homes and ensure that the work done is in accordance with national preservation standards.”
Established in 1962, WHALE is a nonprofit, historic preservation organization dedicated to promoting the value and reuse of historic structures in New Bedford through preservation, education, and advocacy.
To donate to the One Washington Square project, or for more information, call WHALE at (508) 997-1776. To view the Washington Square Gateway Neighborhood Action Plan go to www.waterfrontleague.org/projects.htm.
For more information on Pella Windows, go to www.gopella.com.