A collection of Vineyard Haven properties is now on the open market for $8 million, despite an attempt by a group of investors led by Nat Benjamin of Gannon & Benjamin to keep it from going up for grabs.
Benjamin is undeterred by the listing. “We’re moving forward with our plans, and we’ll be making an offer very soon,” he told The Times Monday.
The listing, which is held by Cronig’s Real Estate, describes the property, which is owned by the DeSorcy family, as a “once in a lifetime opportunity to own a large portion of Vineyard Haven waterfront.”
The four properties house several businesses, including The Martha’s Vineyard Times and Gannon & Benjamin Railway Co. There is also a vacant paint store, several galleries, and some residential space on the property, which is valued by the town at $4.5 million.
Benjamin, who has been attempting to rally private investors, and won the support of having the Permanent Endowment of Martha’s Vineyard act as a fiscal sponsor, said it is a concern that the property went on the market, but he remains confident he can gather enough support to buy it.
“Sure it concerns us, but we’re just going through our process as best we can,” Benjamin said.
Peter Cronig of Cronig’s Real Estate did not immediately return a message about the listing.
Reached by phone Monday, Leo DeSorcy said, “No comment.”
Having expressed interest in the property in the past, Benjamin was given an unspecified window of time to raise the capital to purchase the property. “The family gave us a reasonable amount of time. There was no specific amount of weeks,” he said.
Benjamin said he was given a heads-up that the property was being listed publicly.
In a previous interview, Benjamin said his hope in seeking investors to purchase the property is to preserve the property for use for maritime businesses such as the one he operates. “Our main interest is to preserve this working waterfront — what we do here with building and restoring wooden boats,” Benjamin said in that interview.
A buyer will have to be willing to purchase all four of the properties, which total 1.18 acres and have seven buildings, according to the listing. “Properties will not be sold individually, and are being sold ‘as is,’” the listing states.
Within 100 feet of the shore, town zoning restricts the use of the property to water-dependent businesses.
Town leaders have expressed excitement about the prospects of new ownership for the land, and what that could mean for redevelopment of the property.