When Michael Rauseo of Rockport’s Yankee Clipper Inn first acquired the Pigeon Cove eyesore former Cape Ann Tool Company property for some $1.5 million last October, his initial comments made it clear he was looking to follow the same general game plan as previous owner Christopher Kaneb.
But Kaneb’s Old Colony Maritime LLC plan for 25 condominiums with a relatively small mix of retail space and other amenities was thwarted as much in the end by the 2008-2009 tanking of the condo market as by earlier legal challenges against the project, so there is a context to Rauseo having second thoughts. And now he has clearly done just that.
Rauseo, who recently cleared a giant first hurdle on the road to revitalizing the Tool Company when he was granted demolition permits by the town last month, has now outlined a plan for the selectmen showing that he plans to subdivide the property into 14 lots, with mixed uses that can include a ramp for recreational boating, a proposed water taxi public parking and a variety of other potential commercial or residential uses, and will incorporate the existing brick building on the site.
And while some town residents may note that’s different from what Kaneb and company had sought, the fact is it would seem to hold even more potential for the town and its residents, from both tourism and potential revenue standpoints.
Town officials acknowledge that Rauseo still had to file his plans with appropriate town boards and committees for review. And given that, it’s not immediately clear whether all of Rauseo’s new plans will fit within the permits extended and carrying over for the property when it was under Kaneb’s stewardship.
But the simple fact is that Rauseo’s revised plans carry more flexibility than the one pursued by Kaneb, and in today’s economy, that means more options and chances for the project’s success. That’s good to know — and it’s what Rockport needs. Let the demolition — and revitalization — of this important waterfront site begin.