By GUEST WRITER: George Brennan
— Follow George Brennan on Twitter: @gpb227.
Posted July 2015

    Vision includes hotel, rental cottages, shops and village green. A new road from Tupper Road to the jetties at the canal would feature cottages, shops, restaurants and a boutique hotel

    Sandwich Cape Cod Marina

      Architect’s rendering of a proposed development at Sandwich Marina.

            Courtesy of Union Studio

      SANDWICH — A new road would stretch from Tupper Road all the way to a point near the jetties of the Cape Cod Canal, where a boutique hotel would overlook the scenic vistas of the canal and Cape Cod Bay. Rental cottages, small shops, offices and restaurants are envisioned. And a village green with a band shell is also part of the mix.

      That’s the vision of consultants hired by MassDevelopment, in cooperation with the town, to look at the possibilities for mostly privately held land and 22 acres of public land near the Sandwich Marina in the next 50 years. Land under control of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the district was not included and is considered off-limits.

      Details of the plan were presented publicly last week by Donald Powers of Union Studio. Powers worked with Horsley Witten and Rustpoint Advisory to clarify the opportunities and constraints of the land, including some significant wetlands that hinder development, Powers said.

        Whether it’s pie in the sky or turns from concept to build remains to be seen.

      The next step is for Union Studio to submit a final report, Town Manager George “Bud” Dunham said. Once that’s done, the town would discuss a proposed scope of work and cost estimates for the town-owned land, he said. There’s a possibility of issuing a request for proposals to see if leasing some of that land might make sense, he said.

      The ideas have gotten mixed reviews on social media, particularly the Sandwich News page on Facebook, where some people don’t like the idea of more development near the marina.

      “Sandwich has lost some of its quaint flavor. It was very Norman Rockwell when we moved here,” said Laura Cosgrove, who moved to town from Weymouth 20 years ago. “So much of the character has changed and I don’t want to see it change more.”

      Others would like the property tax breaks that might be associated with a commercial complex, including a hotel, being built. Jay Pateakos, executive director of the Sandwich Chamber of Commerce, likes what he’s seen and heard of the consultant’s report. The marina area has long been seen as having untapped potential for economic development.

        “It provides Sandwich with a plan of what can go there. If any of that works out, it would be great,” Pateakos said. “We have an underused marina right now that, for lack of a better word, needs love.”

      Under the vision created by Union Studio, the marina area would be tied into Merchants Square where Super Stop & Shop, CVS and a host of small businesses are located across Tupper Road from the marina. An intermodal station for buses, trains and other transportation is one of the items consultants included in the conceptual design.

      During the course of the study, it was determined that there is not great demand for more retail business near the marina, Powers said. Instead, smaller shops and restaurants are what would do well, he said. There is also some potential for what he called live/work spaces — offices on the first floor and apartments on the second.

        One potential pitfall of residential housing in the marina district is more houses with a view of NRG Energy’s Canal Generating , Powers said. That’s why Union Square is suggesting rental cottages near the 120-room hotel instead of residential homes, he said.

      A solar field is included in the hopes of generating interest with NRG, which controls a large chunk of land, about 43 acres, between the Cape Cod Canal Visitors Center and the east end of the canal, Powers said.

      David Gaier, a spokesman for NRG, said the company is aware of the town’s interest in developing the marina area. “Of course we’ll continue to talk with the town as appropriate as marina development progresses,” Gaier wrote in an email.


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