Oak Bluffs reaps $1.15 million with close of Southern Woodlands deal

The new owner of the long-dormant Oak Bluffs subdivision is expected to begin marketing the lots immediately.

Approximate area of the Southern Woodlands subdivision. – Courtesy of Google Maps

Over a decade in the making, the sale of the Southern Woodlands property in Oak Bluffs is finally complete ten months after Paul Adamson, a Boston-area developer and Edgartown seasonal homeowner purchased the property from Patten Companies at auction.

Friday morning, Geoghan Coogan of Vineyard Haven, attorney for Mr. Adamson, delivered two checks, totaling over $1.15 million to Oak Bluffs town hall. Per conditions of the deal set by the Oak Bluffs planning board, Mr. Coogan delivered a check for almost $450,000 in back taxes owed by the previous owner, Corey Kupersmith’s Farlap Development Company, and a $700,000 check for the Oak Bluffs affordable housing trust, according to chairman of the selectmen Michael Santoro.

Mr. Adamson purchased the Southern Woodlands property — a 26-lot, never realized subdivision with an equestrian theme off County Road in Oak Bluffs — at a June 26 auction last year. Patten, a family-owned network of companies based in Williamstown with a long history and national track record of purchasing failed developments, precipitated the sale after it purchased the mortgage from the bank that was left holding the property once owned by Corey Kupersmith of Greenwich, Conn.

The subdivision was one of the remnants of a lengthy and divisive battle over the failed Down Island Golf Club that ended in 2004 when the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank agreed to purchase 180 acres for $18.6 million, creating the Southern Woodlands property; the Martha’s Vineyard Commission signed off on the subdivision plan; and Mr. Kupersmith stopped suing and left the Island.

Following the sale of the foreclosed property to Mr. Adamson, the closing was held up when the planning board questioned whether the 2004 special permit issued for the development remained in effect. After a series of negotiations, members of the Oak Bluffs planning board won some major concessions that included a $700,000 donation to the Oak Bluffs affordable housing trust, voluntary reduction of total number of bedrooms to 156, and enhanced nitrogen mitigation to insure a limit of 19 milligrams of nitrogen per liter per year. Buffer zones were also extended in some areas, and ancient ways were restored.
When the vetting process began with the planning board last summer, the affordable-housing component was only $260,000, which was to be paid in $10,000 increments each time a lot was sold.

“Hopefully, everybody won with this deal,” Mr. Coogan told The Times on Friday.
Mr. Coogan said he expects his client to have the lots on the market within a few weeks. There is currently no realtor of record.