SALEM – A Beverly real estate company, Spire Investments, is making a name for itself on the North Shore with its upscale restoration of the former Knights of Columbus hall adjacent to Salem Common.
The project, an 18-unit boutique luxury apartment building, has been named The Breakaway at Salem Common because while it’s set on the quiet side of the common, it’s just steps from downtown and not far from the commuter rail, said Spire Investments owner and president Jay Goldberg.
Goldberg’s company purchased the property at 94 Washington Square East, at the corner of Briggs Street, for $1.7 million in October 2018.
Goldberg is no stranger to North Shore real estate. His father, Richard Goldberg, is one of the partners of the family-owned residential and commercial real estate company, Goldberg Properties of Beverly.
“Real estate is in my blood,” says Goldberg, 42, who grew up in Beverly, and who now lives in Lexington where he is a member of Temple Emunah.
Before closing on the sale, Goldberg and his team spent about nine months going through the permitting process with Salem’s Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals. It required five variances, he said.
“I had the passion for the project,” Goldberg said. “The city saw I wanted to bring the property back to life.”
“Jay Goldberg and Spire Investments are working hard to carry to an adaptive reuse of a historic property, which will not only preserve this architectural landmark on Salem Common, but also provide more housing for our community,” said Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll in an email. “It can be tough to take on a project with that many moving pieces, but Jay and his team have been diligent about doing it right.”
Goldberg said he has since spent millions to restore the red brick, three-story historic mansion, with its Italianate windows, limestone carvings, and portico topped with a balustrade out front. The project also involved the demolition of a hall that was added at the back in 1970 to make way for a three-story, four-level addition with an elevator.
The building features a variety of one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, many with high ceilings, tall windows, and high-end touches including electric fireplaces, kitchens with quartz or granite counters, and master baths with radiant heat floors.
The apartments vary in size from 700 square feet to a 2,900-square-foot, three-story, three-bedroom town home with sweeping views of Salem Common and a built-in, ornately carved hutch. The project will be completed over the course of the next several months, and rentals have begun.
The front mansion was built in 1819 for shipmaster and merchant Nathaniel Silsbee, who served as a U.S. Senator and member of the House of Representatives. The old mansion now contains five apartments, and the back addition 13, which are more contemporary in style. MerryFox Realty of Salem is marketing the building, with rents estimated at $2,500 to $5,000 a month, Goldberg said.
A 1997 graduate of Beverly High, Goldberg earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut in 2001, majoring in real estate and urban economics.
After college, he moved to Boston, and worked in corporate real estate consulting for Ernst & Young, then relocated to Chicago for five years, where he met his wife, Fara Goldberg. The couple is raising two daughters, Bria, who is almost 4, and Milanna, who is 15 months.
After Goldberg moved back East, he went to work for his father, then went out on his own. He represents the sixth generation of the family in real estate, as his great-great-great grandfather built midrise apartments in New York City in the early 1900s. His late grandmother, Barbara Goldberg, was a top real estate agent and business leader in the 1960s and 1970s.
Goldberg’s great grandfather, Sam Goldberg, was one of the founding members of Temple B’nai Abraham in Beverly. His mother, Mardee Goldberg, is still an active member there.
Fara said her husband’s Jewish faith is important to him, and it guides him in his work as someone who always wants to do the right thing, including making sure the details on a project are just right.
“He brings that into what he does,” said Fara, who is head of corporate communications for a global life sciences and diagnostics company, PerkinElmer.
Goldberg, who serves on the board of the Lappin Foundation in Salem, took part in the foundation’s trip to Israel as a teenager in 1996. The trip cemented the meaning of being Jewish.
“And so, it’s important to me to keep the heritage alive and raise our children Jewish and to continue the religion and the sacrifices that our grandparents and our great grandparents made over in Europe before they came over here,” he said.