The Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank announced on Tuesday that it had significantly expanded its North Shore holdings adjacent to Lambert’s Cove Beach, signing a contract that will effectively double the new James Pond Preserve in West Tisbury.

The purchase agreement, announced on the land bank’s Facebook page, includes five separate parcels and approximately seven acres of land with substantial beachfront and pond access. The sellers are members of the Mullins family, and the price is $8.4 million.

According to the statement, the purchase will be funded from the land bank’s central, Edgartown and West Tisbury funds. The sale closing is scheduled for the fall, the statement said.

The five Mullins family parcels, which include two undeveloped beachfront properties, one small triangular parcel near Lambert’s Cove Road, and two larger parcels that stretch from the road to James Pond, have a combined assessor’s value of $3.9 million.

The purchase comes just three months after the land bank bought the former Peltz property adjacent to Lambert’s Cove Beach in December for $3.8 million, which included 330 feet of white sand beach fronting the Vineyard Sound and another 390 feet along the eastern side of James Pond.

With the recent Mullins property purchase, the land bank will own approximately 13 acres in the area, shoring up more than 650 feet of Vineyard Sound beach at Lambert’s Cove and 700 feet of frontage on the pond, across from the historic Mohu estate of Katharine Graham.

The entire property will be known as the James Pond Preserve, with a planned opening for the summer of 2022.

“It’s an expansion, roughly a doubling,” said land bank executive director James Lengyel.

A pristine, white sand beach with views of the Elizabeth islands on the Island’s North Shore, Lambert’s Cove has long served as a popular West Tisbury town beach with limited public access during the summer season. The land bank’s new property begins 125 feet west of the beach entrance and adjacent to the town-owned property, Mr. Lengyel said.

The land bank’s beachfront holdings are not contiguous, according to land records, divided by two extremely narrow, sliver-shaped parcels owned by Whit Griswold and John Flender.

“We’re going to work with neighbors to come up with a solution that’s fair and works for everyone,” Mr. Lengyel said.

The land bank was created in 1986 by an act of the state legislature, and is funded by a two per cent transfer fee on all arms-length real estate transactions on the Island. Land bank properties are public, although access can be managed through various space limitations or reservation systems.

Along with the beach and pond frontage, the property contains a varied ecology that includes pond-side grassland, coastal dunes and a mixed-oak woodland on its west end.

Mr. Lengyel said there were dual reasons for the recent Lambert’s Cove purchases; the beauty of the land and the potential for limiting development near the great pond.

“There were two motives. The first is that they are extraordinarily beautiful,” Mr. Lengyel said of the properties. “The second is that the land bank, wherever it can, wants to reduce the number of houses, and septic systems, around the Island’s coastal ponds.”

Preliminary management plans call for the property, which currently includes multiple homes, to be undeveloped and returned to its natural state, except for a small caretaker’s cottage that can be used for oversight and on-site staff housing. The beach will have what the land bank calls conventional “littoral” uses, including swimming and fishing.

The Land Bank’s statement said that a trailhead accommodating 20 vehicles will also be installed and staffed as needed — and, if necessary, managed through an advance reservation system during the summer.

Mr. Lengyel said that the property would likely merit an on-premises caretaker.

The sale agreement comes after a particularly active year for the Land Bank in 2020, capped by the $27 million co-purchase of Caroline Kennedy’s Red Gate Farm in Aquinnah with Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation. The land bank also bought Arrowhead Farm off Indian Hill Road in West Tisbury for approximately $4 million, as well as beachfront parcels near its Tashmoo Pond Preserve. 

Mr. Lengyel expressed enthusiasm about the purchase, and the future of the James Pond Preserve.

“People really appreciate the ability to walk and enjoy the loveliest lands that the Vineyard has,” Mr. Lengyel said.