Union Wharf warehouse.
Until 1998, what’s now the front yard of 97 Commercial Street was occupied by a historical but derelict building, shown on the inset map in red. The Cape Cod Commission described it as “a circa 1840 warehouse structure, believed to have been associated with the original Union Wharf complex, built in 1831, and moved to this site in the early 20th century. The structure’s windows have been altered over time, but the building retains the simple form of a workshop or warehouse. The structure is ‘loft’ construction, typically found in work buildings of the period along the shore.” In 1996, Alice Foley (1932-2009), who owned the property and is discussed at greater length in the other 97 Commercial Street entry, proposed to demolish the warehouse, which had not been used for about a decade, and replace it with a garden and parking space.
There was strong opposition to Foley’s proposal among many neighbors — though not all — and the Historic District Commission sought instead to relocate and renovate the building. The matter was referred to the Cape Cod Commission. There, Foley argued that maintaining the empty warehouse was causing a financial hardship she could no longer bear, since two of her partners in the trust that purchased the property were bankrupt and dead. A plan was arrived at under which the warehouse was to be moved to the large lot owned by George Bryant (1937-2015), immediately west of his house at 471 Commercial Street. The Cape Cod Commission approved the project in April 1997. However, in October it modified its ruling, after the Bryant plan collapsed. “If no party is able to relocate the building prior to the time the applicant desires demolition of the building,” the commission determined, “the applicant may demolish the building.”
Demolition began in January 1998.
¶ Last updated on 27 August 2018.
For further reading online
97 Commercial Street, Decision of the Cape Cod Commission, 3 April 1997, Project TR96022.
97 Commercial Street, Modification of Development of Regional Impact Decision, 6 October 1997, Project TR96022.