A preliminary look around what is to be our "new home" at
143 Essex St, in Haverhill.
This is a building called Burgess-Lang Business Center, owned and run
by a small LLC called
The site has some interesting history; it used to be a shoe factory in
the early 20th century, and is a *very* solid concrete structure.
The new Storage space is on the 6th floor, but quite handy to a reasonably fast freight elevator. Here's an aerial view of the building and immediate area, with some key features pointed out.
|The space is toward the rear of the building; we approach it through some presently unoccupied space although the internet company that's our neighbor is storing some old communication gear in various corners.|
At left is what the space looks like through its entry door; at right
is what it looks like from about halfway back.
The main rectangle of the room is 100 feet long by 22 feet wide, with an
extra angled part at the back.
Windows all down the left side, which are original and probably rather
leaky in winter.
The right-hand wall is steel studs with drywall on the *far* side, but
not our side -- fugly, but functional.
The networking company's space is on the other side of that wall, and one
of their guys said he also has a small music studio toward the back.
So we could still get a little entertainment on those late-night work
Obviously, the tables/chair/crap that we see here would be removed before our move-in.
|The structural ribs of the building are almost exactly 10 feet apart on center, and the ones through here have numbers. The building management refers to them as "bays", and the dimensions make floor space calculations much easier! Presumably we're at 230 feet from the front of the building here, and the last rib is number 32. The building extends a little farther past that, with a stairwell and some extra floor space at the end. The columns don't intrude particularly far into the space.|
There's a small lip across the flooring at 60 feet back, but not anything
that would be inordinately hard to hop rolling objects over.
Many of the floors in the place are the original wood over concrete from
the shoe factory, perhaps a little less smooth but still able to handle
high PSF loads.
Painted markings from previous warehouse organization are still visible.
We'd probably want to have the floor professionally swept/vacuumed at a minimum, just to get up most of the cruft from prior occupancy.
|The separate rear room apparently used to be restrooms, but is just kind of scary now. It could be cleaned up a little and used for very dead storage, presumably.|
Building heat is steam, and it runs along the window side in a
delightfully old-school industrial setup.
We obviously want to keep our stuff against the inside wall, where it it's a little less subject to outdoor temperatures, out of the way if any work needs to happen on the piping, and away from any potential steam/water leaks which there may be some evidence of visible here. Basically, stuff would have to roll in through the entry door and take an immediate wiggle toward the left and down the access aisle.
|A small subpanel just outside the space through the back door feeds the lighting in the space, and could presumably hold another couple of circuits if we need to add them. There's a *lot* of power to the building in general, typical 208/120V three-phase.|
[Pix from Phi]
There's a good-sized conference room on the 3rd floor which can be scheduled for, and it's possible that meetings or some types of work sessions could happen in here as long as we're careful.
The freight elevator is old but has been upgraded and automated, so it
actually has floor and call buttons and stops by itself.
The doors are still manual, though, so one has to remember to close
them after use so that the elevator can be called from other floors.
There's a bell with which other users can alert someone holding things
up that they need to use it.
The elevator is smaller than the one at 561, but we checked that our largest items will still just fit in it. There is a second freight elevator next to it but it's been disabled for some time now; estimated cost is somewhere around a quarter-million dollars to bring it up to modern safety standards so it's not a high priority for the management.
[The person in the middle is the landlord, Lisa Fitzpatrick]
The loading dock itself.
44 inch height, so not quite at full truck level, but there's a big dock
plate to bridge the gap that *should* preclude having to play the lift-gate
game for most things.
There is also fairly generous space to back in and be completely off
It's a right-angle turn from truck to building but there's much more room
to stage items during loading flow.
The structure above the dock is the trash room, with a chute down to a dumpster usually parked behind there. But we don't have to bring stuff there; trash gets collected from each floor by the building maintenance folks. There is no power outlet anywhere near the dock on its level that we could find -- unfortunate, because it's often useful to be able to aim a nice bright light into the back of a truck. There may be power in or near the trash room, and we could ask for permission to drop a cord out that window during loading. Otherwise we're on battery power for those times.
Take note of the red building across the street...
|That same red building backs onto the official parking lot for 143, which is small but dedicated to Burgess tenants. [This is from the landlord's office window on the 7th floor, and that's her hand waving around pointing things out.] The Haverhill commuter-rail station is also visible, literally across the street although one has to walk around to the opposite side to access the platforms.|
Across the tracks the other way is a gravel parking lot split down the
middle by a guardrail. The far half is the "free parking" for 143, which
seems to have a lot of space and could probably hold a truck overnight
(Viewed from standing just under the billboard structure on the rail embankment)
The foregoing description implies that a railroad bridge might be involved
here, which it is.
It stands between the most convenient route in along highway 97, and access
to the building.
It is signed for 13' 4" clearance which is only a *little* taller than our
typical 13' rental box trucks, so I was curious how much wiggle room that
might actually include.
On one of our site visits I took the laser rangefinder and shot some heights
above the roadway, and didn't measure anything shorter than 13' 8".
However, it turns out that trucks go under here all the time, and I was fortunate to snag a couple of them in the act. The unmarked Hino turned out of the road beyond the bridge and just barreled right under; they probably do it every day so they don't even think about it. The Ryder was a slightly different story -- two guys happened to drive up in it as I was out here, and *stopped* to size up the situation because they'd never been through there before. Oddly, their box wasn't even marked with its own height. I told them my measurement results from *mere minutes* before and suggested they go slow and look up, so they gingerly approached the bridge. And they made it under just fine -- close-ish, but no problem even at the slightly crowned center of the road. I believe the bridge at the far end of the train station is a couple of inches higher, if that might help someday.
There are quite a few restaurants within easy walking distance, as well as the rest of the town's infrastructure.