A bit like Provincetown’s version of a Disney Main Street, the BEKS Condominium is a landscaped, brick-paved town square — which doubles as the roof of a below-grade parking garage — enclosed by two L-shaped buildings that are made to look like several small, older shops and houses by the use of differing colors and architectural features. Its benches and plantings offer a pleasant haven from the frenzy of Commercial Street. I suspect the foot traffic is less intense and the atmosphere more sedate than the developers anticipated when building this mixed-use, commercial and residential complex in 1989. They planned to operate a flower cart in the square to attract pedestrians, and they stipulated in the master deed that “all shop owners must display merchandise in their unit window on a year-round basis.” Unfortunately, the entrance to the plaza is constricted by a ramp leading to the garage, making it less inviting than it might otherwise be. But a view toward the harbor through the two southern ells can still beckon you across the space.
The picturesque Unit 7, left, dominates this 2010 view across the courtyard. The space between the buildings offers a fine view of the harbor. Photo by David W. Dunlap.
The original investors were Edward J. “Brad” Brady of Brewster, and Kenneth C. Summerbell; Sandra S. Rich of Provincetown; and Kathryn Fiore and Ernest A. Groom Jr., a married couple, of Saugus — therein, I believe, the initials that form the partnership’s unusual name: B for Brad, E for Ernest, K for Kathryn/Kenneth, and S for Sandra.
The BEKS Limited Partnership bought the old Nickerson-Rogers property in 1988 from the Shawmut Bank of Southeastern Massachusetts, as successor in interest to the First National Bank of Cape Cod, which had acquired the property in 1973. I don’t know yet whether the house was torn down by the bank or the buyers. The partners paid $327,000 for the 11,000-square-foot waterfront lot, or only $515,000, even adjusted for inflation.
An aerial view from 2010 shows how the developers used a variety of forms and features to mask the fact that the west building (Building 1) is quite large. By Dunlap.
A night view from 2009 clearly shows the six-space garage. By Dunlap.
From the inside out. Photo taken in 2018 by Dunlap.
Brady was responsible for the design of the complex, said Leonard Paoletti, a guest house owner and local historian. The plaza was to have had, at least temporarily, a bronze mermaid sculpture belonging to Tammis Day. She shared a house at 12 Thistlemore Road with Rich, who owned the White Wind Inn, 174 Commercial Street, at the time.
Though six units were to have had ground-floor shops, the commercial establishments that were attracted to the condominium were more likely to be professionals. The Provincetown Banner has made its home here since it was founded in May 1995, and the second-floor newsroom can frequently be seen ablaze in fluorescent light well into the night. In the end, gingerbread and flower beds notwithstanding, the BEKS Condominium turned out more like a miniature Sixth Avenue than a tiny Main Street.
¶ Last updated 29 July 2020.
Leonard Paoletti wrote on 17 March 2014: Ed “Brad” Brady was the partner who designed the property. Since Mr. Brady always went by the name of Brad, that is probably the source of the “B” in BEKS.
167 Commercial Street on the Town Map.
Also at 167 Commercial Street:
• Field Guide ADV | BEKS Condominium (Unit 1).
• The Provincetown Banner | BEKS Condominium (Unit 2).
• David Marshall Datz P.C. | BEKS Condominium (Unit 3).
• Former Ruth Gilbert Real Estate | BEKS Condominium (Unit 7).
Thumbnail image: Photo, 2010, by David W. Dunlap.