Did Billionaire Car Dealer Ernie Boch, Jr. Buy Swansea’s Pleasure Island?
Is Ernie Boch, Jr. preparing for a move to the SouthCoast? Well, all we can say to that is, “Come on down!”
The car magnate-turned-rock and roller posted a photo to his Facebook page Tuesday of the bridge that connects Pleasure Island to the mainland in Swansea, making it his cover photo.
The property had gone up for sale in recent years and was slated to be auctioned off last summer, but a mystery buyer swooped in at the last minute and bought it before it was about to go up for a starting bid of $825,000.
Was that mystery buyer Ernie Boch, Jr.?
Boch hasn’t confirmed or denied that he had purchased the property, but it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for the billionaire to buy a piece of real estate such as Pleasure Island, also known as Shady Isle; a September 2021 article in the Wall Street Journal detailed his numerous properties, including his $100 million estate in his hometown of Norwood.
So what’s another couple of million to own your own 4.25-acre island in the Ocean Grove section of Swansea?
Granted, the property needs about $2 million in rehab and about $800,000 in repairs to the bridge, according to published reports, but that’s also easily feasible for Boch. He could easily bring it back to its heyday, when it hosted weddings and other events before sitting vacant for more than a decade.
Previously, local restaurant owner Al Monte attempted to buy Pleasure Island, with hopes of turning it into a family destination location; however, when the property failed to achieve enough votes at the 2020 Town Meeting to become zoned entirely commercial, Monte backed out of the deal.
The island is surrounded by residential neighborhoods, so it’s hard to imagine Boch would be seeking the same type of usage, although part of the island is already zoned commercial.
Residents from Ocean Grove opposed Monte’s plans for the island, but it’s not like Boch shies away from aggravating the neighbors with his property plans; his neighbors in Norwood and on Martha’s Vineyard have taken issue with some of his moves in the past.
Boch did not reply to a message asking if he purchased Pleasure Island. The Bristol County Registry of Deeds lists a sale of the property at 469 Ocean Grove Avenue to Tashmoo Realty, LLC back on June 30 of this year.
What plans might Boch have for Pleasure Island, if he is indeed the buyer? It remains to be seen if, like his car jingle goes, it’s everything he’s looking for or if he has plans to make major changes.