Revamped $18 Million Beverly City Hall Renovation Proposal Revealed

BEVERLY, MA — A proposal for a somewhat scaled-down renovation of Beverly City Hall that would keep much of the existing building and police annex, add a third floor to the annex and improve accessibility, HVAC and bring the health department and building department back to the building was unveiled at Monday night’s Special City Council meeting.

The proposal is perhaps the least ambitious of the three proposed renovation plans unveiled last June but was revamped in order to contain costs and keep aspects of the historic structure in its first major renovation in a century.

Under the most recent proposal, the construction costs were chiseled from an estimated $24 million last June to $18 million with the total price tag for the renovation — including relocation of City Hall operations for about 18 months during construction — targeted to come in under $25 million.

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“The goals of this project are to get our staff and the public a space that better serves all of us,” Beverly Mayor Mike Cahill said. “When you look at the way things were designed and where we need to go, we’re going to get all of our staff better workspace than they have today. … Then there are a number of meeting rooms and conference spaces and break rooms that would all be nice. And we’re going to hold on to as much of that as we can.

“But we will do with less of that square footage, because we need to, and it still will provide for a better working environment for our staff and a better experience for the public coming in and interacting with city government for various purposes.”

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The improvements will include an HVAC system for the first and second floors of City Hall, where they do not currently exist, and improvements to the third floor HVAC system.

“So the whole of this building will be gaining much higher-quality, cleaner air to breathe every day,” Cahill said.

Cahill said the bathrooms will all become single-occupancy, gender-neutral bathrooms.

The City Council chambers would remain largely intact as would the mayor’s office.

The updated timeline for the project includes final proposals coming back to the City Council for approval this fall with City Hall operations relocating to the former Family Dollar location on Cabot Street by April 2025 at the latest. Construction would then begin in approximately May 2025 and conclude by the end of 2026.

When completed, accessible ramps would connect the current City Hall with the annex, and the rear of the annex would become accessible, resulting in a proposed reduction of parking spots from 33 to 27.

(Scott Souza is a Patch field editor covering Beverly, Danvers, Marblehead, Peabody, Salem and Swampscott. He can be reached at X/Twitter: @Scott_Souza.)

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