In Gloucester’s fishing industry heyday, the old Gloucester Safe Deposit & Trust Co. building no doubt served as a hub of the city’s commerce. And even much later, it still stood as a Main Street sentinel of sorts at the landmark crossing of Pleasant and Duncan streets.
Yet in recent years, it has loomed as a commercial hole in the city’s core – a large-scale dead space in close proximity to others, like the former Empire building and, more recently, Cameron’s.
Now, it is once again about to spotlight an ongoing Main Street rebirth. Thanks to the investment and work of developer Ken Hecht — who spent $850,000 to acquire the 189 Main St. property from interim owner William Thibeault last January, then put its extensive renovation and redevelopment on a fast track – this old downtown gem is springing back to life as home of an already-open art gallery life, a jewelry store expected to open next month, and some grand-view apartments on the upper floors.
And while those mixed uses may not have thousands of new patrons rushing for the city’s downtown, they will certainly breathe new life and a fresh look into that important downtown crossroads, and signal people coming up the Main Street hill that, yes, more and more of Gloucester’s downtown is very much open for businesses.
We congratulate Hecht on seeing this project through – and hope that those other still-vacant downtown properties see similar turnarounds.