LONGMEADOW, MA – The fate of the Brewer-Young Mansion, built in 1885, has been in limbo for the last seven years. In that period the mansion has been up for sale, foreclosed upon, and seen its prior residents evicted. In the meantime, the property has fallen into severe disrepair. Now a group of historically-minded investors have a plan to save it, and put it on a sustainable path for the future by repurposing it as prime office space.
“Our main objective is to preserve this beautiful piece of history for future generations,” said Chris Orszulak, longtime Longmeadow resident and managing director at financial firm Keefe, Bruyette and Woods.
Orszulak has teamed up with Longmeadow surgeon and author Andrew Lam, M.D., and general contractor Henry Clement, to form Longmeadow Historic Preservation Partners, LLC., which will acquire the property in early September.
Dr. Lam has a special interest in the property. His home abuts the mansion, and he spent years serving on Longmeadow’s Historic District Commission and Historic Commission.
“After watching this beautiful mansion languish for the last seven years, I realized it might soon deteriorate beyond the point of no return. To preserve it, we think decisive action is necessary now.”
The mansion contains 10,900 square feet of living space and has 11 bedrooms. Columns of its grand front portico had rotted, threatening the portico’s complete collapse, before the Town of Longmeadow compelled JP Morgan Chase Bank, the owner of record, to restore the columns for safety reasons.
“The mansion will require significant, ongoing funds, to preserve,” Dr. Lam said, “substantially more than its market value as a single family residence. We think an income-producing property – ideally with high-quality tenants who will respect the history of the home and historic district – is the most realistic way of ensuring the mansion’s long-term survival.”
And the group is already considering a highly-respected medical practice that has expressed interest in renting more than half of the space.
“We aim to create a modern office space while preserving the home’s historic features,” builder Henry Clement said. “And the historic exterior of the mansion would definitely be maintained.” The team knows the project will take time and entails risk.
“The main challenges are the need to obtain re-zoning, and the possibility that rehabilitating the mansion will cost significantly more than expected,” Orszulak said.
“But these are risks we’re willing to take,” Lam said. “Because we can’t risk losing this historic gem, the centerpiece of Longmeadow.”