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The Ship may go down on Route 1

Videodes, Episode 1: Disappearing Americana along Route 1 in Saugus and Lynnfield. By Scott LaPierre
Videodes, Episode 1: Disappearing Americana along Route 1 in Saugus and Lynnfield. By Scott LaPierre

Yet another landmark may sink from the Route 1 skyline as property owners make plans to demolish The Ship Restaurant in Lynnfield.

Under a proposal submitted to Lynnfield’s Zoning Board of Appeals, owner Ship Mall, LLC., a subsidiary of Allston-based Micozzi Management Inc., would knock down the iconic boat-shaped restaurant to make way for several retail buildings, said Ted Regnante, an attorney for Micozzi.

If the plans are approved, The Ship will be the latest Route 1 institution to be wiped from the highway. In 2015, the Hilltop Steakhouse and Weylu’s were demolished. Last year, Route 1 Miniature Golf & Batting Cages shut down to make room for a new development. All three were in Saugus.


The Ship served its final meals last weekend and is now closed.

“The Ship building has, frankly, been there since the 1920s and it’s outlived its usefulness,” Regnante said.

The property owners plan to replace The Ship with a building containing 7,580 square feet of retail space, a 2,500 square foot coffee shop with a drive-through, and a 2,500-square-foot building that will house a branch of East Boston Savings Bank.

The Christmas Tree Shops, which sits adjacent to The Ship, will remain where it is, but plans include new signage for the store, said Kathy Randele of Lynnfield’s planning department.

The Planning Board will review the site plans during its meeting Tuesday, and vote on whether to recommend approval to the zoning board, Randele said. Hearings before the zoning board on Feb. 7 and the Conservation Commission on Feb. 21 will follow.

The Hilltop’s 68-foot-tall neon cactus and Route 1 Miniature Golf’s 12-foot orange dinosaur continue to tower over motorists on Route 1. Such a legacy will not be given to The Ship, which started as a small refreshment stand on the Newburyport Turnpike in Lynnfield in 1925, according to the restaurant’s website. After a successful five years in business, the owner — a retired Gloucester sea captain named James F. Wilkinson — fulfilled his dream of building his own ship for a restaurant. It was constructed on land and was never seaworthy.


Since then, the restaurant has changed hands a number of times. Ship Mall, LLC., bought it from Stella Lynnfield Realty Trust for $16.8 million in 2007, according to the Lynnfield Assessors Department.

Despite Regnante’s assertion that the new development will complement a planned 68-unit affordable housing condominium complex next to the site, it will create a conspicuous void for Lynnfield Selectman Christopher Barrett.

“It’s absolutely a unique building, and one that I think will be missed,” Barrett said. “I’m hoping that whatever goes in there maintains the character.”

Sean Teehan can be reached at spteehan@gmail.com.