The F.X. Casino Wharf building in Falmouth Heights was sold December 24 for $9.7 million. Buyer was Kevin P. Meehan, a businessman and developer from Mendon.
Mr. Meehan could not be reached about his plans for the building. He has not filed for any town permits.
Mr. Meehan started Imperial Cars in Mendon in 1991. The business includes three dealerships over a 52-acre lot, according the business website. He owns the Mendon Driving Range and other properties as well. Mr. Meehan bought the property under Aoife Cara LLC.
The property is on .86 acres that sit on Vineyard Sound with a private sandy beach and a three-story building with eight waterfront residential condominiums and a 5,000-square-foot two-story, full-service restaurant, that now houses Soprano’s Casino by the Sea.
The sale includes 26 parking spaces in a garage and a 54-space valet lot across the street. According to the real estate listing, the condominiums were never sold and have been used as vacation rentals.
The seller was the Braintree development company of the late Francis X. Messina; Mr. Messina died in 2017. He purchased the property in September 2000 for about $1.8 million. After months of hearings and stiff opposition, he tore the building down and rebuilt the condominiums and restaurant in its place.
The property had a long history before Mr. Messina.
The original casino was built before the turn of the 20th century. It burned down in 1909 and was rebuilt in the Dutch Colonial style with a gambrel roof. It was for many years the site of the popular Cottage Club and pier. People lined up on the pier to board a launch for a cruise, while others would stroll along the boardwalk along the heights or lounge on the beach. At this time, it was also home to a post office.
In 1945, William J. McCann bought the casino from Harry B. Hopson, the original owner. Mr. McCann operated the business until 1969, when he sold it to William P. Sweeney Jr., who had worked there for the previous 10 years.
Mr. Sweeney turned it into the Casino by the Sea nightclub and restaurant which was often packed with young people, vacationers, college students working in town for the summer and locals. Most recently, the building housed the Wharf restaurant and a T-shirt shop and candy store. At various times the first floor housed a movie theater, a barber shop, a bathhouse and a tourist retail shop selling T-shirts and suntan lotion.
Mr. Sweeney died in 1998.
In 1999, timeshare developers William E. Curran and Robert Reposa initially signed a purchase and sale agreement with the family of the late William P. Sweeney Jr. Their plans to raze the building and replace it with luxury condominiums immediately ran into opposition.
As the project made its way through regulatory boards, some 2,600 residents signed a petition to “Save the Casino.” The board of selectmen shortly after referred the project to the Cape Cod Commission.
The developers dropped the project and sold the development rights to Mr. Messina. He obtained permits, which included an off-site septic system some 300 feet from the beach in a lot off of Central Park Avenue.
What will happen because of the sale last month remains to be seen.