HARWICH — A sign reading “Be Part of Harwich Port's Exciting Future” is drawing a lot of interest in town. Erected on the vacant land across from Cumberland Farms, between Heather's Hairport and the former Bayside Realty office, the sign includes a rendering of a future retail and residential development.
There has been a lot of talk about the improved business climate in Harwich Port over the past couple of years. There has also been an expansion of retail space in the village with the development of Harwich Port Commons, the mixed use development in the center of the village replacing a parking lot with a street front retail and residential complex. While that complex sat vacant this past summer, there are whispers of a tenant planning to locate there.
Town Planner Charleen Greenhalgh said she had a recent telephone call from someone with an interest in the use of retail space there.
“There is space available if you want a business in Harwich Port,” Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cyndi Williams said this week. “In the future we’ll be looking at more opportunities.”
Williams said she has received a lot of calls about the sign on the Dennis Miller, Main Street HP LLC property. People are curious about what is happening there, she said.
Miller told The Chronicle this week he is starting to take initial steps to put plans in place for the 575 Route 28 property. Miller said they’re planning to have retail on the first floor and residential units on the second floor of the building.
“We’re committed now to moving forward,” Miller said. “We have a general plan and we’re having discussions with a tenant. We think it will be very complimentary to the town, hopefully it will be synergistic to Harwich Port and expand the town center down to the area where it has been less active over the past few decades.”
The plan is to begin engaging with the town over the winter and to start working on permitting, he said. He also said he plans to talk with neighbors.
“It will be a collaborative process,” Miller said.
Miller owns the property to the west, which has two buildings there, including the former Bayside Realty office. That provides Miller with some elbow room in the design phase, but he made it clear he has no intention of impacting the buildings now there. He also owns a small vacant lot just to the west of the former real estate office.
With one tenant committed, and Miller working with another potential tenant, he said he wants to get that party's needs pinned down and he will work on design from there. There will still be space available to rent there, he added.
There will also be some changes in the village coming this spring. Miller, who owns Harwich Port Square, said Cranberry Jewelers will be vacating the storefront shop there and the Mad Minnow restaurant and Ten Yen will be expanding into that space.
“It’s always been my vision for that building to have a restaurant in front there,” Miller said.
Betsy Thompson, owner of the building on the northwest corner of Router 28 and Bank Street, has also said the shop in her building is available for rent.