The Downtown Historic District in Salem seems to be on the verge of a modern-day revival! In the recent past, improvements have been revitalizing many of our treasured buildings. The boom began with the J.K. Gill Building which was transformed into a restaurant at ground level (Wild Pear) with a much-sought-after apartment above, followed by the ambitious renovations and restorations of the Metropolitan Building, the Salem Arts Building, the old Anderson/Electric Apartment Building, and the Gray Building (home of The Brick restaurant and the new Amadeus restaurant). The second levels of these buildings are once again providing prized residential opportunities as well as popular office and business locations. Who knew hiding behind the various Chinese restaurants housed at 440 State Street was the colorful art deco façade of the mid-1930s Gray-Belle Restaurant?
The latest jewel to enhance the restored glory of Historic Downtown Salem are adjacet 1916 Roth/McGilchrist Buildings, former homes of Roth Company Grocery, the YWCA, McGilchrist's Furniture, Woolworth's Five & Dime, and more recently, Heath Florist. Community activist Gayle Caldarazzo-Doty always had a dream to own an Italian market to celebrate the family-centric culture of the Italian family she joined through the marriage to her first husband, local educator Guido Caldarazzo, but this had been suppressed by the needs of their busy family and school life. With Guido's passing came a need to reinvent herself and the dream began to resurface.
Years later, the potential for giving life to this dream became apparent when she learned that her new husband, Doug Doty, also always wanted to live and work in the downtown area. They began the arduous job of searching for the right property when they learned of the availability of the McGilchrist Building, located on an active corner in downtown, but whose sale must include the adjacent Roth Company Building. Both Gayle and Doug could envision how the building could be returned to its former grandeur and, with knees shaking, purchased the building. And so their restoration saga began.
After more months of construction and unexpected challenges than they ever anticipated, the Roth-McGilchrist Buildings recently opened with Doug's newly-merged CPA firm as the anchor tenant, along with nine other new businesses--one of which is Gayle's Italian Market--and their new apartment above. They are quick to credit the amazing team that came together to help them realize this dream: C/B Architects, David Holton Design, the staff of the State Historic Preservation Office, as well as the staff of the various City of Salem departments who worked so relentlessly with them to bring this project to fruition.
Gayle and Doug are happy to share their experiences in taking on such a monumental project with others. Come check out their new place--they'll proudly show it off!