With a major renovation project under way, the Kelley House and Newes from America pub will stay shuttered this summer as construction work continues in the heart of downtown Edgartown. But the project will no longer be subject to review by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission after a plan to renovate and expand the historic 1742 building, which houses the pub, was put on hold this winter.
Blue Flag Partners, the Boston-based real estate firm that owns the hotel, still plans to carry out the remaining renovations in the campus spanning Dock, Daggett, North Water and Kelley streets. “We are committed first and foremost to keeping the historic nature of the property,” Blue Flag managing partner Jason Brown told the Gazette by phone this week.
The project had been referred to the MVC for review as a development of regional impact (DRI). But in February the plans were withdrawn after a decision was made to elimiate renovation of the 1742 house from the project.
“Due to escalating costs of construction and an indefinite timeline for approvals, we have withdrawn our building application for the 1742 building,” Blue Flag partner Brad Guidi wrote in a email to the commission. “It is our understanding that the referral of this project to the MVC was based on the proposed constructionof this building as part of the larger project and is no longer applicatble.”
Hotel will stay shuttered this summer while renovations take place.
— Ray Ewing
Commission DRI coordinator Alex Elvin confirmed in an email this week that the project no longer triggered a regional review. The plan involves moving a pool to the center of the property, a gut renovation and redesign of the entry to the hotel building along Kelley street known as the Garden House, expanding the Pelican Club restaurant and removing a parking lot to accommodate the new pool. The hotel and Newes from America pub closed in January and are now scheduled to reopen in May 2023, Mr. Brown said.
“Even though it’s this massive project, the majority of that work is internal to the buildings,” he said.
The 1742 building will not be changed — for now, Mr. Brown said.
“Their approval timeline was much longer than we were comfortable with because we are focused on getting this thing open for next summer,” Mr. Brown said, speaking of the MVC. “So we said no problem, we’ll come back to you guys and do this as phase two.”
The tavern building became a hotel in the late 1800s when Elizabeth and Bill Kelley bought the property. In 1935 Mrs. Kelley’s nephew Richard L. Colter, who also owned the Mansion House in Vineyard Haven at the time, took own
ership of the hotel, renaming it Great Harbor Inn. The name was switched back to the Kelley House in the 1970s.
The renovation project was approved by the Edgartown wastewater commission in February, according to minutes. MVC documents also show that the Edgartown historic commission has approved the project. Building department records show that the project is awaiting permits for the Garden House and for proposed renovations to 51 North Water street.
“That’s the last piece of that puzzle,” Mr. Brown said of the building permits.
The contractor for the project is Metric, a Boston-based company which oversaw the 2018 project to renovate the Edgartown Yacht Club.
Metric will spend the summer gutting the interiors of the buildings set to be renovated, Mr. Brown said. The pool will be moved and hardscaping the area will be done in the fall. The interior work will again be revisited in the winter. “We’re excited to bring everything back to life, including the Newes for next summer,” Mr. Brown said.