ROCKPORT — The 5.1-acre parcel on which the Cape Ann Tool Co. once operated has been put on the market by an owner who was unable to turn the property into the condominium complex he proposed.
"The property is for sale," said Christopher Kaneb, manager of Old Colony Maritime LLC, which owns the oceanside property and had obtained permits in recent years.
Kaneb declined to say today how much money he is seeking. The real-estate company handling the sale is Cushman and Wakefield, according to Rockport Town Administrator Linda Sanders.
The building that once housed the stamping operation closed in 1987, and is now dilapidated. Neighbors consider it to be both an eyesore and a potential hazard to youngsters. Yet the Pigeon Cove Harbor location, across from 152-154 Granite St., is remarkably picturesque.
Town officials in recent years have supported Kaneb's plans to develop the property, in part because it is abandoned and unmonitored. Kaneb's company had proposed to construct six townhouse buildings that would contain a total of about 22 condominium units.
In addition, plans called for the old factory building to be rehabbed to include three moderate-income residents units, an 85-seat restaurant and other retail space.
But Kaneb's company was stymied in part by lawsuits filed by a 10-citizen intervenor group that had claimed the site was polluted and a poor choice for use of the land. In addition, the retreat of the real-estate market has made it more difficult to develop condo projects.
Several court decisions favored Kaneb's company, including a decision by the Massachusetts Appeals Court in November 2010 that ruled against the citizen group.
But the loosely-organized protestors — spearheaded by Gloucester resident Stevan Goldin — have remained tenacious in its opposition to the development.
Kaneb declined to identify the specific reason for selling the property.