Councillor Brendan Crighton pretty much led the troops at city hall in an effort recently to have the Athanis Family let the city know what exactly it is going to do with its downtown building which has been empty since the restaurant closed quite some time ago.
The family representative didn’t quite give away the family’s best kept secret, which is, they are right now planning to do absolutely nothing with the building.
Instead, the council heard a chemical expert (the family’s part-time real estate expert as well) describe how the entire downtown of the city of Lynn is saturated with chemicals from the former White Laundry factory.
To their credit, the councilors who spoke were a great credit to themselves and Crighton among them, took the family representative to task.
Bottom line, the council wants something done with the building.
The problem is that no one can be found to do anything with the building that would justify the investment.
Therefore, the family lets it sit vacant as to do anything else would make no economic sense.
Today, more than ever before, the numbers need to jive or investments are not going to be made.
The former Anthony’s Restaurant property is a white elephant. It is empty. It is old. It is in need of exterior refurbishing if it is just going to sit there.
And if this is the case, then the family should take some of its hard earned money from its successes elsewhere and remake the front modestly so it gives the appearance of public art at the very least.
By doing this the square would be brightened up substantially. The city would get off the family’s back, and an important corner of a city block that remains empty would serve as something bold and cool to look at with a nice façade.
Perhaps a 1960’s look would be suitable as that era, more than any other, was the time the restaurant dominated in what was then a far more robust downtown.
Just some paintings of people eating placed in the windows and the facade dressed up a bit and made to look like an operating restaurant with some exterior period lighting would do.
The crime is in doing nothing.
Tearing down the building doesn’t accomplish anything, either unless we want another downtown parking lot with not enough automobiles to justify it.
The free marketplace is a fickle place indeed.
With no one wanting to buy the building and no one wanting to invest in it and with no investment in it possible of returning the investment made, the building sits there aging and crumbling and looking like a wreck.
That should change. If the Athanis Family won’t do anything then maybe the city should do it for them in return for a lien on the property.