Lynch Park is a 16-acre waterfront park in Beverly that offers sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean. Lynch Park is a 16-acre waterfront park in Beverly that offers sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean.
March 1, 2009
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THE GOODS: Founded in 1626, Beverly was once a summer playground of Boston's elite but has since evolved into a diverse community. The downtown is in the midst of an ambitious renovation, as the city embarks on three initiatives: construction of a new MBTA garage to provide additional commuter parking; revitalization of Rantoul Street, near the train station; and waterfront development along the Danvers River.

PROS: The houses in Beverly are as diverse as its residents. Here you'll find a bevy of condo complexes, town houses, and multifamily homes as well as modest single-family Colonials and jaw-dropping estates. Young professionals looking to buy their first place often are drawn to the new condominiums that hug the Danvers River and dot the downtown landscape. A two-bedroom, two-bath unit sells for about $250,000. Those looking to sacrifice modern amenities for a bit more privacy might consider an antique Colonial - a two-bedroom, one-bath home on a postage stamp size lot can be had for as little as $175,000. From there, prices for single-family homes climb as high as $6.1 million for a sprawling nine-bedroom oceanfront estate in Prides Crossing. Magnificent mansions may also be found in the exclusive neighborhoods of Beverly Farms, Beverly Cove, and Curtis Point. In addition to its seaside location and bustling downtown, Beverly's draw includes Endicott College and Montserrat College of Art, as well as the highly regarded Beverly Hospital.

CONS: The city's schools suffered a blow in 2005 when the high school's accreditation was nearly revoked because of the poor condition of its building. City residents responded by voting to increase property taxes to pay for a new academic wing. Contractors broke ground on the $80 million project last month.



Median home price: Single-family home, $340,000; condominium, $224,000

Residential tax rate: $10.86

Average tax bill: $4,852

Choice location: Lynch Park, a 16-acre waterfront park with sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean, offers swimming in summer and sledding in winter. Its sunken Italian rose garden is splendid in full bloom.

Cocktail party nugget: Beverly launched the first armed naval vessel for the United States in 1775, the schooner Hannah.

SOURCES: Warren Group, City of Beverly, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and Maryellen Mitchell, an agent with Re/Max Advantage Real Estate