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New Ipswich

712 Turnpike to be mixed use

ZBA OKs plan to turn former day-care into offices, apartments

NEW IPSWICH — A local tax accounting firm’s growth may lead to growth opportunities for other area businesses. An expansion of Romeril Tax and Accounting has led the owners to renovate a building on Route 124 for offices, not only for their own business, but up to four other professional offices as well.

Last month, the Zoning Board of Adjustment gave the go-ahead for Carol and Bob Romeril to start work transforming the former Wee Dreams Daycare Center into office space and two apartments. The Romerils own and operate Romeril Tax and Accounting in New Ipswich, which they founded five years ago, said Carol Romeril in a interview at her tax office Friday. Each year they were in operation, their business grew, until they were chafing in the rented offices on Route 124.

“We’ve grown each year we’ve been in business, and it just got to a point that the space we occupy has become limited,” she said. “We needed more space in order to continue to hire new people and meet with additional clients.”

While seeking a new place to house their tax and accounting firm, the couple first began scouting places on Route 124, she said. They came across the property at 712 Turnpike Rd., which has stood empty for the past two years, since Wee Dreams vacated the space. The property had originally been built in 1989 as six condominiums, but since then has been used for light manufacturing and then the early learning center. The Romerils envisioned a different use for the space: A place for young, working professionals to reside or house their businesses.

The Romerils purchased the former Wee Dreams on Sept. 10, and are in the beginning stages of converting the lower floor of the building into two single-bedroom apartments, with space for six offices on the upper level. Half of the office space is to be used for the Romerils’ accounting firm. The rest of the space is to be split into one office suite, and three smaller offices, which could be rented as a unit or separately, said Romeril. The hope is to attract businesses that will mesh well with the accounting firm, she said, with professional offices being the goal. The apartments, being single-bedroom and between 900-square-feet and 1,000-square-feet, are ideal for young working singles or married couples whose lifestyles will be compatible with sharing the building with professional offices.

Romeril said after obtaining a special exception to permit a mixed use — residential and commercial — of the building, they are now moving forward with the renovations. The shell of the building will remain intact, said Romeril, but renovations done in the days when the property was used for light manufacturing mean the entire interior of the building will be overhauled to separate office spaces and create the two apartments. The couple is currently waiting on architectural plans and a building permit, but expects to move forward with the construction by early October.

“We hope to be in our new offices by Thanksgiving,” said Romeril. The other office spaces will be ready at roughly the same time, she said, with the apartments likely to be ready for tenants by the early months of 2014.

Zoning Board Chair Wendy Freeman was glad to see the property back in use, she said on Aug. 29, shortly before the board approved a special exception for the use. Wee Dreams has been sitting empty and on the market since 2011, when the day-care closed. And ZBA member Marianne Graham said she feels the area is suited to the mixed use.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com.

She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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