The Truell Building on Essex Street in Lawrence
IRS Tax Lein Could Doom
 $5 Mil Truell/Blakely Project
Tom Duggan

LAWRENCE – Two developers are seeking to purchase the long dilapidated Truell building, located at 372-386 Essex Street for $75,000. (see picture on the bottom right)   They are Richard Derosas, president of Paramount Construction, Inc. and Kenneth Rockett, president of Rockett Industries Inc. The two have formed a limited partnership where each will own 50% of the property as they did when purchasing the Blakely building in 2001.

The Blakely building is located at 467-479 Essex Street. (pictured on page 1)   The Truell building is presently owned by the City of Lawrence. The sale must be approved by the City Council and Mayor Mike Sullivan.  

As part of the sale agreement the developers need to obtain funding to renovate and restore the Truell building at a cost of almost $5 million. According to their request for proposal (rfp) the developers anticipated that they will receive funding by way of low income housing tax credits, federal historic tax credits and federal HOME funds from the Department of Housing and Community Development.  

However, research done by The Valley Patriot staff revealed that Derosas owes an outstanding balance to the IRS in the amount of $65,457.92 resulting in an IRS tax lien on the Blakely building. To date, the Blakely building remains in serious disrepair. So much so that the Lawrence fire department has declared it a hazardous building marking it with a large red “X” to warn first responders that the building is not structurally safe.  

With the outstanding tax lien against the Blakely (and Derosas personally), some are questioning whether or not the developers are financially sound enough to complete the Truell renovation project, the Blakely building project and whether or not they will even qualify for the subsidies and loans they plan on applying for though the city's Office of Planning and Development.  

Sources inside City Hall tell The Valley Patriot that the developers are planning to combine the Blakely and Truell building projects once the Truell building sale is complete.


Lawrence City Councilor Nick Kolofoles held up the sale of the Truell building for two weeks saying he has had a reservations about the project as well as concerns about parking, low income housing, and a spate of unanswered questions by the developers.   The City Council is expected to discuss the sale at it's next meeting.

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