The property that has for decades housed one of Gloucester's iconic waterfront businesses is under new ownership. The sale agreement for the Commercial St. property that has been home to Cape Pond Ice and its predecessors since 1848 will also allow the business and its owner, Scott Memhard, to continue to operate and supply ice to Gloucester's diminished fishing fleet. Cape Pond Realty Trust -- headed by Richard W. Kohn, an accountant and real estate investor who has homes in Gloucester and Winchester -- acquired the land and buildings at 104 and 106A Commercial St., according to a deal finalized late Tuesday and announced on behalf of Memhard by local attorney Meredith Fine. The sale price was $750,000, the Southern Essex Registry of Deeds confirmed Wednesday morning. The agreement also makes Kohn a partner in the Cape Pond Ice business, said Memhard, who will continue to manage and operate the ice company. The dual properties are assessed at a total of $944,000, according to city assessors' records. Of that, $851,800 of that covers the main site at 104 Commercial St., which includes the 33,000 square-foot building and 110 feet of working waterfront dock space. Under the agreement, Kohn's trust is also to invest in and upgrade the ice plant through the purchase of modern, energy-efficient equipment, Fine and Memhard indicated. Memhard and Cape Pond Ice will also continue to operate its facilities in Peabody and Lawrence. Under letters issued last year by the state's Department of Environmental Protection and Coastal Zone Management agency, parts of the property can be used for non-marine activities within the state's Designated Port Area -- which still covers the properties -- as long as the site continues to provide marine services such as producing ice for commercial fishing vessels. Kohn could not immediately be reached Wednesday morning regarding any plans he has for further developing the site. In 2014, Memhard and the company were granted a $120,000 line of credit from the public Massachusetts Growth Capital Corp. and a $685,000 debt consolidation package secured by MassDevelopment through the former Rockport National Bank -- now Institution for Savings. But Memhard, who has served on the Gloucester City Council since January 2016, confirmed last August that the property was once again on the block. The Memhard family has owned the property and business since 1983, but the Cape Pond Ice location has served the Gloucester fishing fleet along the waterfront since 1848. The business gained national, even global, recognition through the 2001 film "The Perfect Storm." "It's life-shifting. It's hard to think of myself after 34 years of not being the proud owner of this property where so much has happened," Memhard said in a phone interview Wednesday morning, "but I think our new partnership is a very good sign for going forward.'
By Ray Lamont Staff Gloucester Times