Struggle with Developer Shapes Dome Preservation Efforts

FALMOUTH – Plans to restore the former Dome Restaurant in Falmouth and convert it into an arts center have hit a recent snag.

The Dome at Woods Hole, the non-profit organization spearheading the project, is reporting that negotiations with the property’s current owners have stalled.

Issues include the amount of land that would be provided to the Dome, the amount of parking, and perhaps most importantly, the placement of a high density development near the iconic structure.

Property owner Woods Hole Partners LLC are offering a proposal contingent on the inclusion of a 43-unit condominium development.

The dome group has been working for the last year to use the property as an arts center, or as organizers describe it, an “interdisciplinary collaborative place that provides a forum for innovative thinking and creative making.”

“We sort of envision it now as an arts center focused on arts, technology, and science. That brings in a connection with the community in Woods Hole with all the science institutions,” said Nicole Goldman, the Chair of the Board of Directors for the non-profit.

The building was designed by Buckminster Fuller and has been unused for over 20 years.

“It is a significant building. It is in the historic district of Woods Hole. It’s on the list of significant buildings for Falmouth and it is eligible for listing on the national historic register,” said Goldman.

As a result of the failure to reach an agreement, the Dome was denied funding by the Falmouth Community Preservation Fund, money that was intended to support the vital next step of completing an historic structures report and structural analysis of the Dome.

The Dome intends to move forward regardless and will submit an application in early January to the Mass Cultural Council’s Cultural Facilities Fund which supports such studies up to $50,000 in total.

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