Ground Asbestos Halts Condo Project

Asbestos found in the ground around the site of a $200 million converted-mill condominium community may delay the opening of the project by several months.

An article in the North Andover (MA) Eagle-Tribune reports that 50 future residents of the luxury condominium development, Monarch-on-the-Merrimack, have been contacted in regards to their October move-in date. They’ve been told that their residency will be delayed a minimum of two months.

“At this point we have determined that unfortunately there appears to be no way to avoid a delay,” developer Robert Ansin wrote in a letter dated Thursday, July 19.

“The final date will depend on how soon we are given final approval to proceed from the state. I did not want to wait however to tell you that it is highly unlikely that we will in fact be able to deliver the lofts in the fall as planned,” he said.

The asbestos debris found in the ground is believed to be from a demolition project that occurred in the 1950s. When testing of the material showed trace amounts of asbestos, all exterior work was shut down immediately.

According to the article, Ansin’s development company, MassInnovation, contacted the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) asking for guidance and hired an environmental consulting firm to develop a plan for the removal of the asbestos. They are still waiting for a reply from the state.

A representative from the DEP says they are discussing the need to modify the existing plan, to fully assess the asbestos and the debris.

Ansin responded by stating that the lack of state regulation over asbestos found in the soil has bogged down the project, because there are no specific requirements dictating when the state must issue a response to the developer’s plan.

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