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Developer sells waterfront home

More than two years after it was put on the market, the imposing Hingham waterfront home of developer Thomas Hastings has been sold to a local family.

Neither Hastings nor the buyers - Kevin and Rita Gill - would disclose the sale price, which was listed in records at the Plymouth County Registry of Deeds as $10.

Hastings put the 16-room mansion on the market in 2009 for $8.4 million. Registry records also show that Kevin Gill, as manager of the Hingham Bay at Merrill LLC, took out a $3.3 million mortgage for the property, which sits on a cliff above Hingham Harbor, a few doors from the Hingham Yacht Club in the Crow Point neighborhood.


“I feel great [about the sale],’’ said Hastings, who sold the house without a real estate broker. “A great family with a lot of children [are moving in], and I know they’re going to love the home and have many years of enjoying it.’’

“It’s a great, great price - a record price for Hingham, I think,’’ he added. “But I prefer to keep it quiet. I’m looking forward to building something smaller, on the water’’ in Hingham.

That location also is “secret,’’ he said.

The Merrill Street house, which Hastings built in 2001, boasts a deep-water dock, infinity pool, and sweeping view of the Boston skyline. Its assessed value is $5,187,700, according to Hingham’s director of assessing, Richard Nowlan. That’s the second-priciest residence in town, he said.

(Number one is 5 Bare Cove Lane - a waterfront home in the World’s End neighborhood - which is valued at $5,265,400, he said.)

Nowlan said annual property taxes on the Merrill Street home are just under $62,000.


Hastings ruffled more than a few feathers when he bought the one-acre site and built the 10,000-square-foot house on what for years had been the neighborhood go-to spot for sledding and watching Boston’s New Year’s Eve fireworks.

A controversial figure in Hingham, Hastings has built numerous high-end residential developments in town and clashed with local boards on several occasions.

In one instance, Hastings sued the town after selectmen backed out of their agreement to sell him the historic Hersey House, which he planned to develop into townhouses for people over age 55. The town ended up paying Hastings $800,000 last spring to settle the suit.

Hastings said that despite some financial difficulties, he now is working to finish construction at the BackRiver Townhomes, a development of 45 townhouses adjacent to Bare Cove Park on the Hingham-Weymouth line. He said he is also pursuing permits for River Ridge, a 100-acre “executive’’ subdivision in Foxborough.

But most of his time now is occupied with “high-tech investing’’ and “Internet ventures,’’ he said. Hastings said he was involved with founding path.com, a phone-based social network hyped as the “anti-Facebook’’ and headquartered in San Francisco.

Hastings said he started the company in Hingham with John Fanning and sold it in 2010 to Fanning’s nephew, Napster cofounder Shawn Fanning, and to Facebook veteran David Morin and Macster developer Dustin Mierau - who changed the concept and have been extremely successful.


Hastings said he remains a major stockholder in the company, which turned down a $100 million buyout offer from Google this year.

The company’s webpage and press about the company say it was created by Shawn Fanning, Morin, and Mierau. A list of investors includes actor Ashton Kutcher and several major venture capital groups.

Hastings, who has two daughters in their 20s, said he now divides his time between Hingham and his homes in Miami Beach and Julian, Calif.

Hastings said he sold the Merrill Street house because it was too big for him to live in alone.

The Gills have six children, ages 7 to 26, and are longtime Hingham residents. Kevin Gill is president of McCusker-Gill Inc., a heating and air-conditioning contractor based in Hingham, and in 2003 received the contractor of the year award from the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association.

Reached by phone, Rita Gill said she didn’t want to comment on the purchase of the house, except to say that the family planned to move in after the holidays.

Hastings originally listed the property with the Coldwell Banker real estate company. In its advertisement, Coldwell Banker said the “five-bedroom, six-bath house boasts numerous amenities not commonly found outside of Beverly Hills.’’

“This beautiful home stretches along the top of a cliff over Hingham Harbor, with an infinity edge pool seemingly dripping into the ocean. A commercial-grade movie theater, indoor basketball court, exercise room and spa, floor-to-ceiling aquarium, and a four-car garage truly make this a spectacular one of a kind home,’’ the listing said.


Johanna Seltz can be reached at seltzjohanna@gmail.com.