As our oh-so-valuable alternative paper, Salem Weekly, reports in the current issue, "A fresh spirit blows into town -- the McGilchrist Building."
Gayle Caldarazzo-Doty imagines an intriguing, gracious and vibrant downtown Salem, filled with enterprises and amenities that will draw people from all over. “We can have our own little Pearl District right here,” she says.
Caldarazzo-Doty and her husband, Douglas W. Doty have spent two years renovating and transforming two historic buildings, The McGilchrist and The Roth at Liberty and State streets, into an appealing cluster of shops, businesses and luxury residences.
Coffee addict that I am, one of those businesses, Archive, is of special interest to me. Back in December I drooled over the potential of it in "Archive -- cool addition to Salem's downtown scene."
There's a whole lot to like about what Gayle Caldarazzo-Doty and her husband, Douglas Doty, are bringing to downtown Salem through their well-designed renovation efforts of a historic building.
The only thing that concerned me was learning about some large trees adjacent to the building on State and Liberty Streets that might be removed. I'm not against removing downtown street trees when this is truly necessary, but the City of Salem has a sad history of doing this for no good reason.
For example, see my "Outrage: the true story of Salem's U.S. Bank tree killings" and "Truth Bomb #3: City of Salem kills trees for no good reason."
Some months back I wrote David Holton, the Owner's Representative for the McGilchrist and Roth buildings renovation, about the trees. I urged him to make sure that any tree slated for removal really needed to be, getting a second opinion from a certified arborist if this seemed wise.
In September I got some excellent news from Holton.
I wanted to update you on the status of the trees on State and Liberty Streets in the public right-of-way in front of the Roth and McGilchrist buildings. All existing trees on State and Liberty Streets will be retained and 3- new trees (Armstrong Red Maple) will be planted on Liberty Street. The existing trees have some health issues but it was agreed by all parties that these trees will be retained. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Regards, David Holton
Holton only had good things to say about Jan Staszewski, the City of Salem's Urban Forester. This was a pleasant surprise to me, since I've had bad things to say about Staszewski when he recommended that trees be removed which certified arborists had told me were healthy and could be saved.
Regardless, this is the way street tree assessments should happen: on the basis of sound facts and arborist advice, not "political" machinations where a business gets some trees removed for no good reason.
In this case, Holton told me that the Doty's wanted the existing trees to be preserved if at all possible, and were going to plant additional trees.
This might have had an impact on the decision to save the trees, since the City of Salem appears to be more eager to approve street tree removals when requested by a business, than to save trees when requested by tree-loving citizens and expert arborists.
The Salem Weekly story says that the McGilchrist and Roth buildings will be open to viewing soon. Great news:
On November 16, all of Salem is invited to see the results.
...Caldarazzo-Doty says she wanted to start something similar in 1992, but felt the city was “just not ready” at that time. “It’s like a dream after 24 years,” she says. “It’s exciting that we’re finally getting that kind of thing to happen. Doug and I are both entrepreneurs and we both have a lot of passion for the community. We wanted to invest in downtown. We want other people to take a look, and maybe follow suit.”
The entire project will be completed by November 16, Caldarazzo-Doty says, and the community will be invited to a welcoming event.