A big year for the Nantucket Land Bank continued on Wednesday, as it announced one of its largest acquisitions of 2022: a 5.6-acre waterfront parcel along Polpis Harbor for $7 million.
The property at 244 Polpis Road includes an existing dock and a 2,000 square-foot home that will either be moved and repurposed for employee housing, or declared surplus and made available through a public bidding process.
The family of the seller, Reid White, had owned the property since 1947, and the Land Bank thanked them for “embracing the vision of Land Bank ownership and facilitating additional public water access for future generations.”
Nantucket Land Bank executive director Jesse Bell said the property had not been on the market, but they had a mutual connection with the family which led to the Whites contacting the Land Bank about a potential sale of the waterfront parcel.
"To me this is exactly what the Land Bank was created to do," Bell said. "It couldn’t be anymore representative of our mission."
Reid White said the property had been a special retreat for him and his family for more than seven decades. Without putting the land on the open market, White said he and his family decided to enter negotiations with the Land Bank based on their understanding of the organization's mission and work to preserve Nantucket's open space over the years.
"We approached them," White said. "Our entire family is involved in this. I think what the Land Bank is doing is a wonderful thing. The property, in my judgement, is one-of-a-kind on the island. West Polpis Harbor is quite special. From where we sit, if you look out north, it's an amazing view that's unobstructed. When I was a boy, my parents bought this property in 1947 and bult a small, modest cottage. If you looked at Pocomo from there, there was only one light. In a sense, it's almost unchanged. It’s just a special place. It's wonderful the Land Bank has it because now the people of Nantucket and visitors can enjoy it in perpetuity. And so will we."
The Whites will retain their rights to the property for five years through a lease agreement with the Land Bank. During that time the Land Bank will plan and permit the property for public use, which it envisions as a new spot for people to launch non-motorized vessels like kayaks, and offset some of the pressure on its nearby Holly Farm property which “has reached its maximum capacity for dinghies and other watercraft.”
The acquisition was the Land Bank’s tenth property purchase in 2022. It has now spent $42 million and added more than 24 acres to its portfolio.