The impact from COVID-19, a diminishing membership, and long list of expensive repairs has AMVETS Post 32 putting its property at 14 Prospect St. up for sale

The Gloucester post has occupied the building for more than 70 years.

At its height, AMVETS Post 32 had more than 300 members. Membership has dwindled to about 100, counting veterans and social members, said Victor Anido of Gloucester, the bar manager.

Mark Vadala, Realtor/broker with Vadala Real Estate in Gloucester, said the building is listed for $575,000. City records assess it at $681,600.

“COVID hurt us very badly. We lost a lot of people during COVID,” Anido said, including those who died and those who stayed away due to the need for social distancing and never came back.

Prior to COVID-19, the post was doing well.

“When it hit, it just really hit us hard,” Anido said.

The building with 6,502 square feet on three floors features a meeting hall/function room with high ceilings on the top floor, a first floor with a lobby, offices and restrooms, and a 1,500-square-foot veterans club in the basement. It has an elevator, sprinkler system and parking.

Vadala said it could be converted into condominiums, apartments or be used by a nonprofit. Vadala said the post would like to be able to stay and keep the bar downstairs if a developer is willing to accommodate that.

However, he said the post no longer has the resources to maintain the building, which has problems with its roof, elevator, siding, and fire escape.

“It’s not that the AMVETS is going to just wash out and go away,” Anido said. “We will survive in another piece of property in Gloucester.”

The post supports the community in a myriad of ways, Anido said, with a scholarship fund called the 500 Club, while its White Clover Program supports veterans. The post runs the popular Fish Box Derby on Rogers Street in September.

Anido, who served with the 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in the 1970s, said many Vietnam War-era veterans are starting to age out, but the post has some members who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The post is always looking for new members, he said.

For veterans, first-year membership is free, and $30 a year after that. Social members sponsored by a veteran pay $40 a year.

History of the post’s building

Vadala said the post’s building was built in the late 1880s.

In 1915, Vadala said a Jewish organization called Chevra Ahabath Achim, also known as Chevra Ahawas Achim, according to the deed, purchased the building. It served as a temple until 1951 when AMVETS post purchased the property for $15,000, according to the deed.

“That’s why you see those grand windows on the front that are two-story windows,” Vadala said. “It’s interesting to see that the Jewish community was centered here at one point.”

Gloucester resident and long-time temple member Arley Pett said the post was the former location of Temple Ahavat Achim. The temple moved into a former church building at 86 Middle St. that was destroyed in a fire in December 2007. A new temple building, constructed on the same site, was dedicated in 2011.

This is not the first time the post has looked to relocate.

In 2017, two months after reaching a purchase-and-sale agreement to acquire the site of the defunct Espresso’s Italian Grille on East Main Street, the organization backed away from the deal, largely due to financial reasons, according to an article in the Times. Anido said Wednesday the East Main Street building was in such poor shape, the bank would not finance the purchase.

“I’m sorry to see they are forced to sell because they have a diminishing membership,” said attorney Mark Nestor, commander of the Capt. Lester Wass American Legion Post 3 on Washington Street. It’s something veterans’ organizations nationwide are dealing with. Many younger veterans are too busy trying to hold down two jobs, earn a degree, and raise a family to get involved with veterans’ organizations, he said.

Adam Curcuru, director of Cape Ann Veterans Services, said the AMVETS post has been a wonderful asset for the community. Like Nestor, Curcuru said the demographic of veterans is changing. “It’s a change of the times but it’s not a change of the service of AMVETS to the community,” Curcuru said.

Ethan Forman may be contacted at 978-675-2714,or at

Ethan Forman may be contacted at 978-675-2714,or at

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