The landmark Walsh family home in Dewey netted $1.6 million in a March 14 auction.
The Starboard owner Steve “Monty” Montgomery, Schell Brothers founder Chris Schell and Ocean Atlantic Companies Executive Manager Greg Tobias teamed up to bid for the property.
“We’re going to start planning Monday,” Montgomery said. “We’re going to refurbish what’s here. We’re not going to tear it down.”
The structure comprises a first-floor commercial space, main home and two apartments. Montgomery said initial thoughts, which could change, are to keep the current structure and update it over the course of a few years, unit by unit.
“It’s been a piece of the Dewey landscape forever,” Montgomery said. “It’s got sentimental ties to so many, and we are excited that it will remain.”
Montgomery said work will soon begin on minor interior cosmetic improvements so it can be rented for the season. In the fall, he said, exterior improvements will begin. The commercial part will likely be a retail shop, not a restaurant, he said.
“We think over some time, this can become a premier rental property right in the heart of Dewey, and across from the biggest landmark Dewey Beach has in The Starboard, but maybe I’m slightly biased!”
Montgomery said plans could change between now and fall, when owners have a full season to consider options.
When new owners take control, the property will leave the Walsh family for the first time since Mary Grubb Dugan purchased it in 1935.
Dugan’s grandson, James Walsh, later opened Walsh Electronics on the site and lived there with wife Alice and their eight children. Alice, known widely throughout town as ‘Mom’ to all children, led town efforts leading to Dewey’s incorporation in 1981.
In a statement, Walsh family members said they were excited the property will stay in local hands.
“Selling it was bittersweet, since Dewey has always been a part of our lives,” the statement read. “But rest assured that it will continue to be. The Dewey community has played a huge part in the history of this family, especially helping care for our Mom in recent years.
“Our sincere thanks go to Monty and his associates, the Emmert Auction group, everyone who came out on Saturday for the auction, and the Cape Gazette for telling the story. Just keep in mind: You can take the Walshes out of Dewey, but you can’t take Dewey out of the Walshes!”