NEWPORT DAILY NEWS - 43 Acres on Portsmouth's West Side to be Auctioned Off
By Derek Gomes
Daily News staff writer
PORTSMOUTH - A long
swath of undeveloped property along Narragansett Bay in Portsmouth will be up
for grabs at an auction later this month.
Massachusetts-basedJJManning Auctioneers is advertising a 43-acre development site off Burma Road,
sandwiched between the Melville marina and boatyard to the north and the Weaver
Cove public boat launch to the south. A property tour will be given this
Wednesday and the auction is scheduled for Sept. 26 at 11 a.m. at the site,
according to information from the auction house. The property will be sold to
the highest bidder "regardless of price," its advertising materials declare.
The five parcels
that comprise the property have a total assessed value of about $4 million,JJManning said in a brochure. According to the town's online real estate
records, the current owner is Melville Associates LP, which purchased the site
in December 2006. Melville Associates was apparently the vehicle used by
Pennsylvania-based development firm O'Neill Properties Group, led by J. Brian
O'Neill, to buy it.
secured $14.1 million in financing for the real estate transaction, with the
intention of building the "state's largest marina with room for mega-yachts,
residences, shops, restaurants and marine businesses," The Daily News reported
in March 2007.
An approval dating
to October 1995 allowed for a 1,495-slip marina at the site, which was formerly
Navy land and was owned by boat builder Ted Hood. The "marina village" could
accommodate potentially 988 housing units, including studios and one- to
three-bedroom residences, representatives of O'Neill Properties said at a town
meeting in May 2006, when it had the property under contract.
The development of
the Weaver Cove land would have dovetailed with J. Brian O'Neill's other
ventures on the western side of Portsmouth, including the luxury Carnegie Tower
and the Newport Beach Club. While the tower was completed and the Newport Beach
Club is under development, the transformation of the Weaver Cove land never
went through permitting processes with the town of Portsmouth, Coastal
Resources Management Council and Army Corps of Engineers, according to online
records. In August 2014, the Army Corps of Engineers New England District
started a public comment period for a permit application from Melville
Associates to build and maintain a marina with 887 slips in Weaver Cove, a revised
plan - with fewer slips - from the one authorized in October 1995.
The 2014 application
was administratively withdrawn because Melville Associates did not provide
additional information when prompted by the Army Corps of Engineers, according
to agency spokesman Tim Dugan. It requested the information on Oct. 21, 2014,
and no response was received within 60 days, he wrote in an email. The agency
withdrew the application on May 12, 2015.
A listed phone
number for O'Neill Properties was disconnected. No one from another development
company tied to J. Brian O'Neill returned a voice message seeking comment.
"The Owners have
chosen Absolute Auction, the accelerated method of marketing, for the sale of
this fabulous property," stated a letter from Justin Manning, president ofJJManning Auctioneers, to prospective bidders. "Their decision allows you to
set the market price for this magnificent waterfront site with your bid. You
will buy the property at the lowest possible price by bidding one increment
higher than the competition."