Herring Cove Village Condominium (Phase I, Units 1 to 11)
Phase I of Herring Cove Village. [2011, Dunlap]
The seeds of this 17-unit cluster were sown in the 1990s, with the growth of Provincetown as a second-home market and the death of Hawthorne Bissell — the founder and proprietor of the red-clay tennis courts and clubhouse that once occupied these four acres.
Bissell’s stepson Jon C. Van Rider sold the property in 2006 for $1.75 million to an entity called WK Red Clay L.L.C. of Boston — in actuality, James E. Watkins and David T. Krohn. Watkins, who was from St. Louis, studied electrical engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla (now the Missouri University of Science and Technology). In 2005, he purchased 6 Nickerson Street, a Long Point floater with the incongruous touch of a boldly projecting semicircular bay window of more than 100 small lights.
Krohn received a bachelor’s degree in business finance from Northeastern University. He worked as the general manager of Rafanelli Events in Boston, headed by Bryan Rafanelli (who transformed Fire Station No. 1 at 117 Commercial Street into a private home). Krohn was a sales executive at Akibia, Jobster, Monster, and Skyword. He is better known at the time of this writing as the developer of the Bayberry Hollow Farm project on West Vine Street.
Watkins and Krohn unveiled their plans in the spring of 2007. They sought to remove one of the five tennis courts, demolish two front cottages on the property, and construct 17 new condominium units known as Herring Cove Village. As a matter of density, it would represent an increase of nine residential units, since the two cottages had eight apartments between them.
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Red and green shapes show the original buildings on the site: two cottages close to Bradford Street Extension, the tennis clubhouse in the center, and the five courts. The gray buildings are Phase I and Phase II of Herring Cove Village.
David Berarducci Landscape Architecture designed the landscaping of Phase I.
Left: A promotional card. [Author’s collection] Right: Phase I houses under construction. [2008, Dunlap]
A widow’s walk is framed out. [2008, Dunlap]
Insulating wrap is applied. [2008, Dunlap]
Phase I nearing completion. [2008, Dunlap]
Eight years later, the shingles have grayed. [2016, Dunlap]
Phase I took up the western part of the acreage, right off Bradford. It accounted for 11 units. These were divided among eight buildings with ample front porches, each topped by a distinctive widow’s-walk cupola. (Not that the occupants of Herring Cove Village were likely to be watching the Back Shore anxiously for the welcome sight of canvas sail.) The buildings were set in a staggered, seemingly random pattern along a private drive leading to a rotary. The complex was designed by McMahon Architects of Boston, working with David Berarducci Landscape Architecture of Boston and the Coastal Engineering Company of Orleans. The Berarducci firm noted the use of permeable paving and indigenous plants and grasses to reduce the project’s impact on the environment.
Though the area was zoned for single-family homes, rather than multifamily units, the prior Town approval of the eight apartments in two cottages allowed WK Red Clay to apply for an extension of an existing non-conforming use.1
Permission was granted for the project by the Town on condition that three units be affordable. The developers offered the units as “community housing,” defined by Massachusetts law as “low- and moderate-income housing for individuals and families, including low- or moderate-income senior housing.” (A “moderate” income is less than 100 percent of the area-wide median; a “low” income is less than 80 percent of the area-wide median.)2 In the case of Herring Cove Village, the “community housing” units were priced at $115,000 each. A lottery in June 2009 determined the buyer-occupants.
There was little other good news when sales began in 2009, in the wake of the greatest financial catastrophe since the Great Depression. “The first units went on the market during one of the worst housing downturns in history,” Krohn told the Conservation Commission in 2010. “As a result, the prices we were able to sell the units at were much less than expected.”3 Apart from the “community housing” units, only three qualified sales were recorded at Herring Cove Village in 2009, at prices ranging from $515,000 to $848,000, leaving five units unsold.
Two more units had been sold by the time the developers appeared before the commission in February 2010, seeking a substantial revision in plans for the eastern portion of the property, where the Bissell tennis courts had been constructed more than 60 years earlier.
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The Phase I houses have large front porches. [2011, Dunlap]
An overview of Phase I. [2010, Dunlap]
The widow’s walk of the typical Phase I house helps identify Herring Cove Village, as seen from the Village at the Moors. [2011, Dunlap]
Town officials at last gave their approval in December 2010 to a plan that called for constructing two of the houses in the “footprint” of three courts, leaving the two furthermost courts for the use of condo residents as a private club. The Zoning Board of Appeals signed off, 5 to 0.4
Another unit in Phase I was sold in 2010. The last two were sold in 2011, for $530,000 and $825,000. The current roster of owners in Phase I is composed of six residents of Provincetown, three residents of Boston, one resident of Newbury, and one resident of Yarmouth Port.
21 Bradford Street Extension on the Town Map, showing property lines.
Also at this address
1 “16-Condo Proposal for Bissell Property,” by Pru Sowers, Provincetown Banner, 5 April 2007.
2 General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Title VII, Chapter 44b, Section 2.
3 “Tennis Development Worries Provincetown ConCom,” by Pru Sowers, Provincetown Banner, 10 February 2010.
4 “Red Clay Homes Get Go-Ahead in Provincetown,” by Pru Sowers, Provincetown Banner, 13 December 2010.
¶ Last updated on 9 April 2022.