Selectmen vote on new Atlantis Drive owner

Mar 25, 2020

MARION — If contract negotiations are successful, Marion Antiques and Marion Antique Auctions will buy 13 Atlantis Drive from the town for $613,000, after selectmen awarded the sale to the company on March 24.

The town only received one proposal for the property, but found that Marion Antiques met all of the minimum requirements the town had brainstormed and was deemed “highly advantageous” in seven comparative requirements the evaluation team devised.

The town hopes to have the purchase and sale agreement and closing before the end of this Fiscal Year. The proceeds from the sale of the building will be converted to free cash.

At the Special Town Meeting in the fall of 2020, Selectmen will present voters with a proposal to then use those funds from free cash to build a new DPW facility.

Frank McNamee, the founder and owner of Marion Antiques says he plans to use half of the Atlantis Drive Building as a high-end storage facility for his antiques and auction businesses. After a year he would rent the other half out to the town for the Harbormaster and facilities workshop while offering various discounts to the town. The Council on Aging would continue use of the basement storage for free

Marion Antiques owners would also look to eventually develop the second floor of the building into something that is “in line with the positive image that we are attempting to project for the Town of Marion,” the proposal said.

McNamee currently has two storage facilities in Lakeville and one in Wareham, but would like to consolidate to Marion.

He would plan to improve the appearance of the building by removing the barbed wire fence that currently surrounds it and doing “thoughtful aesthetic improvements” to create a “park-like setting.”

The entrepreneur is also president of the Sippican Historical Society, and is interested in the property for its historic value.

The property once held an early wireless telegraph system developed by Italian physicist Guglielmo Marconi for his company Marconi Wireless Telegraph Co. Construction on 13 Atlantis Drive,  the station’s operating building and powerhouse, started in 1910, a year after Marconi won a Nobel prize for developing technology that paved the way for radio waves to be broadcast long-distance.

The station was at the time one of the largest in the world. The Marconi complex included 40 acres three bungalows and a hotel for employees, all of which still exist and are privately owned. 

To honor this fact, McNamee plans to install an exhibit that he researched and put together in the past and now has in storage at the Sippican Historical Society permanently in the lobby.