DeSorcy properties on the market as four parcels

Group that includes Nat Benjamin working on another offer.

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The DeSorcy family has put four waterfront parcels on the market. — Lexi Pline

Four prime waterfront Vineyard Haven properties are once again up for sale, but this time the owners have four parcels on the market individually.

The Beach Road properties — 30, 34, 42, and 46 — owned by the DeSorcy family are being sold as separate parcels, for a combined $7.3 million, after attempts to sell them as one parcel failed. The new asking price is a notable $700,000 drop from the previous $8 million asking price for the entire property.

The DeSorcys have put the entire 1.18-acre property up for sale at various times, but have been unsuccessful in finding a buyer. Now they’ve split up the listings, hoping for more offers.

The properties are sandwiched between Beach Road and the Vineyard Haven Harbor, and include the Martha’s Vineyard Times building, Gannon & Benjamin Marine Railway, two art studios with apartments, and an unoccupied warehouse which was the former home of the DeSorcy Paint building. The most expensive are the buildings housing The Times and Gannon & Benjamin, which are being marketed together for $3 million. The art gallery, office space, and apartment are listed together for $1.9 million. The warehouse is priced at $1.4 million, and another building is being sold for $1 million.

The properties have been listed with Cronig’s Real Estate of Vineyard Haven for several years. Peter Cronig, the real estate agent for the property, said the family wasn’t able to sell the property as one, so they decided to sell the parcels separately.

“We’d love to sell it. I’m sure whoever it is would rerent to everybody. The owners have had enough, and they want to move on,” Cronig said.

A group of investors led by Nat Benjamin of Gannon & Benjamin have attempted to keep the whole property from going up for grabs, but haven’t had much luck getting an offer accepted by the DeSorcy family.

Benjamin told The Times he and his group are still looking at the properties, whether that means just one or all of them.

“We’re very interested in it,” Benjamin said. “Working on another offer.”

The entire property falls within commercial waterfront use through a district of critical planning concern (DCPC). A DCPC denotes a special area on Martha’s Vineyard that is important to more than one town on the Island, or to the Island as a whole, and is subject to a clearly defined process.

Twenty years ago, the Martha’s Vineyard Commission enacted the DCPC, which restricts commercial use of the property to water-dependent businesses such as boatyards, aquaculture, and marine terminals in areas 100 feet back from the high-water mark.

“The commission specifically finds that the lands and waters within the district are essential to shellfishing resources and to the protection of the water quality and associated natural resource habitats,” the DCPC act reads.

3 COMMENTS

  1. The combination of town regulations and the DCPC have vastly devalued that property.

    You can’t build another Black Dog; you can’t build a hotel; you can’t build private housing. You might be able to build a marina but you probably can’t expand the dock.
    You probably can’t tear most buildings down or people will be up in arms: they may not like them enough to buy them, but they don’t want you to change things. Not to mention that the rebuild will run into another 100 flood zone and coastal regulations.
    You can’t really make enough money renting to existing tenants to justify the mortgage carrying costs, and you can’t put in a high traffic business which would pay more rent (MVC issues).

    Developers everywhere are noting this outcome, and planning to avoid it next time.

  2. Sailorman has it exactly right. Once you encumber a property with numerous regulations you freeze it and microscopic scrutiny accompanies it. The owner might get lucky if someone with too much money and a preservation instinct comes alone but otherwise it is doomed. The island bureaucrats constantly fall on their own swords.

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