The Internet is awesome. Now you can look up archives in advance. I looked up Ipswich 20 years from now, and it was fantastic.
Remember that little Bruni complex on Essex Road?
(Essex Road? you say. Well, most of us back here in 2019 just call it “133.”)
Hey, as it turns out, seems the Bruni complex expansion was a great idea.
I remember when neighbors were complaining about John Bruni building 200 rental units: townhouses, four-story apartment buildings, acres of parking spaces.
People were horrified because the beloved Bruni Marketplace — with its Lahey doctors’ offices, Zenobia gift store, Equestrian Shop, and Sterling laundry service — was going to be demolished and supposedly rebuilt.
Folks were nervous because the project seemed to keep expanding and expanding, and they couldn’t get answers about exactly how EXPANDED AND EXPANDEDthis project was going to finally get EXPANDED to.
Oh, if folks back then had only consulted the crystal ball of the Internet and feasted their eyes on what was to come!
They could have relaxed.
No, not just relaxed.
They could have reveledin the wonder of it all.
Here we are, a scant two decades down the road, and just LOOKat 40 Essex Road in Ipswich, Massachusetts!
You thought Trump had a big thing going in NYC?
Bruni World is phenomenal.
It’s like Jordan’s, except you don’t have to drive so far.
Forget about Zenobia and the equestrians. This is no longer just a place to come to get your passport photo taken and to buy a salt lick.
The gleaming world-class high-rise office-and-condo structure at the heart of the Bruni complex has become an international attraction.
(I love how Topsfield teens sit on their rich parents’ rooftops to enjoy the laser-light show beamed from the now-famous Bruni “MassachusettSpire” every night.)
The shopping mall around the base of the skyscraper has not only totally revived Ipswich retail foot traffic (remember when businesses kept closing on Market and Central?), but also rejuvenated the entire U.S. shopping mall industry.
(Timemagazine’s cover story last week, February 1, 2039: “Bruni Boon!”)
Of course, there are inevitable downsides.
Ascension Church, on County Street, used to have some of the loveliest stained glass windows on the North Shore. The windows are still there, but sunlight no longer reaches them because of the enormous shadow Bruni World casts across much of central Ipswich.
(The Turkey Shore neighborhood has sure changed, too. Between New Hampshire residents driving down by the thousands to the Bruni World Casino — press the Floor 43 button in the elevator — and the death of all the trees along the river for lack of sunlight, property values have dropped an average of 4,000%. Still, the houses are really nice, and they’ll look even better once the owners can afford to paint them again, after the recent tax increase, which was needed to cover the cost of the Bruni World tax-exemption deal, which was totally necessary in order to keep Bruni in Ipswich, because that’s what a town does when it has a huge revenue-generator like Bruni World.)
I remember 20 years ago, back in 2019, when the big news was that John Bruni’s 40 Essex Road development proposal came under the state’s 40B law, which allowed developers to bypass most local zoning if 25% of the units were technically “affordable” ANDif the town’s housing stock was less than 10% “affordable.”
At the time, Ipswich’s technically “affordable” housing stock stood at 8.9%. So Bruni was able to, well, I won’t say “bulldoze,” but, yeah, “bulldoze.”
But look what we’ve got now, a scant 20 years down the line!
An internationally acclaimed leisure and vacation destination!
Hordes of people pouring in to our town to spend their money!
It makes me chuckle, thinking about my friend Keri MacRae, who used to be one of the neighbors owning property close to the new complex.
Back then, she expressed frustration with the Zoning Board of Appeals, “enlarging the plan, adding six more units, adding 22 more parking spots, adding 1,200 square feet of retail … not listening,” she said. She and many others were apoplectic about what appeared to be never-ending expansion of the Bruni proposal.
What a tragedy if we had actually listened to Keri MacRae, and curtailed the spreading of this splendor.
- We wouldn’t have our spine-tingling Dunkin-sponsored “Espresso Express” rollercoaster, running from the pinnacle of Bruni World’s 50-story “Affordable Dream” tenement tower down to the front door of the Ipswich Public Library (featuring a newly legalized drive-through!).
- We wouldn’t have the status of former President Justin Bieber landing at our Bruni International Heliport (where Gordon’s flower shop used to be) or Tom Brady’s grandchildren arriving in their limousines to ski at our new 666-unit Bruni Cable Gardens resort.
- We wouldn’t have such fabulous skyways, complete with moving sidewalks, arcing from 40 Essex Road down to the newly reopened Bruni Candlewood Golf Club, over to the Bruni Ipswich Country Club, and up to America’s hottest new vacationland, Bruni’s Little Neck (ID required).
I’m so grateful Ipswich woke up, 20 years ago, before it was too late.
Sure, there’s the traffic congestion, the noise pollution, and somewhat of a public health crisis due to decreased air quality. And yes, the crime rate has ticked up a bit, but this is mostly from pickpockets working the covered pedestrian bridge that takes tourist families over Essex Road to the Bruni World Carnival where Corliss nursery used to be.
On the other hand, look what we’ve GAINED, people!
If we had remained mired in the concerns of mere abutters, we would have lost out on the unparalleled benefits — the sheer thrill — of Bruni World.
All because somebody was a little bit nervous, back in 2019, about a four-story building going up 20 feet away from a rural residential zone.
What a lack of foresight!
Doug Brendel lives on outer Linebrook Road, just past the point where the sun will no longer shine if his Bruni World nightmare becomes reality. Follow Doug here at Outsidah.com.