The Mission of Preservation Chelsea

It is our mission to preserve Chelsea as a village rich with history and charm, reflected by historic buildings, surrounding farmlands, and as found in our beautiful and vibrant village center. We aim to work through education, offering to ourselves and the community the history of Chelsea as well as the issues shaping our future. We intend actively to preserve historic landmarks and to have a voice in all issues that affect any possible de-centralization of our village. It is our intention to pursue this mission with full involvement and input from merchants and citizens of Chelsea and to act in ways that make sense for the preservation of Chelsea's charm and historic integrity while supporting a vibrant and successful downtown.

Federal Screw Works

Federal Screw Works
This property has been under threat of total demolition since 2008--there are historically signficant and architecturally interesting sections that should be preserved!

Jackson Street Panorama

Jackson Street Panorama
The DDA voted at the meeting on 9.20.12 to demolish the Daniels Addition Car Showroom despite the letter from the State Historic Preservation Office. (please read below)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Chelsea Standard Website April 8

Submitted by Tom Girard

Area residents walking past Dangerous Architects’ front door on Main Street in downtown Chelsea may have noticed an exciting new development.

Scott McElrath, owner of Dangerous Architects, developed a rendering for an exciting adaptive reuse project to be located at the former Longworth Plating site, which has been posted in his front window for the past few weeks.

A team of Chelsea residents has put forward a proposal to the Chelsea Downtown Development Authority, which would renovate most of the complex and make it a new focal point that will help bridge the current divide between downtown and the Chelsea Clock tower.

“We all know what an eye sore the complex has been for a number of years. This proposed project is a great example of adaptive reuse of downtown structures that will benefit Chelsea for years to come,” McElrath said.

The Preservation Chelsea group that developed the plan proposes the buildings be used for market, retail and entertainment space.

“The business we’re working with is a perfect fit for the site. They focus on local, sustainable food, art and entertainment, and are looking to expand their current operation”, said Tom Girard, a member of Preservation Chelsea said.

The Livery Building will house affordable urban-edged studio apartments on the second floor, with a new third floor roof garden and patio for tenants, and enclosed tenant parking on the first floor. Sharing a portion of the first floor of the Livery Building will be The New Craftsmen Workshop, a cooperative workspace for local artisans to work their craft.

“We’re trying to create a great place to live, work and play that will add to the vitality of our downtown,” Girard said.

The future of the buildings has been uncertain since the complex was acquired by the DDA. Although community members expressed support for preserving the buildings at a visioning session held in April 2009, the DDA planned during the summer to move forward with demolition of the Livery, which dates from the early 1900s and is adjacent to the Farmers’ Supply.

In response, a group of preservation-minded citizens, known as the Save the Livery Coalition, mobilized to halt the demolition, gathering more than 700 signatures. The DDA then granted a stay of demolition, and the Preservation Chelsea – Chelsea Connection Team was formed to develop an alternative plan for the complex.

This team includes Chelsea citizens who have contributed their substantial expertise in architecture and design, construction, engineering, project management, historic preservation, fundraising, communication and organizing.

In January, the DDA issued a Request for Proposal to redevelop the site. In February, the group submitted the only proposal received by the city. At the March DDA meeting, the proposal was not well received, largely due to the fact that the group proposed that the city continue to own the property during redevelopment. Preservation Chelsea has now restructured their proposal to include purchase of the property through a newly formed limited partnership.

“Our team has worked diligently to make this a win for everyone in Chelsea. Many of us live and/or work within a few blocks of this structure. We all want what we feel is best for Chelsea. We just hope our arguments will be convincing enough to help the DDA visualize how to best use the site,” McElrath said.

“The proposal will create a mixed-use facility that will become an attraction not only for the businesses housed there but also for its historic value and forward-thinking design. We feel creating an energetic development, preserving Chelsea’s historic character, adhering to green design principles and increasing the tax base are more important than the additional parking spaces,” Girard said.

Another key issue that factors into the proposal is safely containing chemical contamination from the former plating facility.

“The city's own hired consultant stated that capping in place is the safest thing to do with regard to the contaminants inside and under these building floor slabs. Renovating the Livery Building will reduce the chance of spreading contaminants,” McElrath said.

For more information about The Chelsea Connection, contact Michelle McClellan at 475-7565 or e-mail michelle.lee.mcclellan@gmailcom; Joe Merkel at 320-9828, Jan Bernath at 475-5753, Scott McElrath at 562-2418, or Tom Girard at 475-3632. Additional information can be found online at


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