With a major renovation project underway, the Kelley House and Newes of America pub will remain closed this summer as construction work continues in the heart of downtown Edgartown. But the project will no longer be subject to scrutiny 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 company that owns the hotel, still plans to complete the remaining renovations on campus covering Dock, Daggett, North Water and Kelley streets. “Our primary commitment is to retain the historic character of the property,” Jason Brown, Blue Flag’s managing partner, said by phone this week.
The project had been referred to the MVC for consideration as a development with regional impact (DRI). But in February the plans were withdrawn after a decision was made to eliminate the renovation of the 1742 house from the project.
“Due to escalating construction costs and an indefinite delay for approvals, we have withdrawn our construction application for Building 1742,” Blue Flag partner Brad Guidi wrote in an email to the Commission. “We understand that the referral of this project to the VMC was based on the proposal to construct this building as part of a larger project and is no longer applicable.”
The hotel will remain closed this summer during renovations. — Ray Ewing
The Commission’s DRI coordinator, Alex Elvin, confirmed in an email this week that the project no longer triggers a regional review. The plan includes moving a swimming pool to the center of the property, renovating and redesigning the hotel building entrance along Kelley Street known as the Garden House, expanding the Pelican Restaurant Club and the removal of a parking lot to accommodate the new swimming pool. The Newes from America hotel and pub closed in January and are now expected to reopen in May 2023, Mr Brown said.
“Even though it’s this massive project, the majority of this work is inside buildings,” he said.
The 1742 building will not be altered – for now, Mr Brown said.
“Their approval time was a lot longer than we were comfortable with because we’re focused on opening this thing for next summer,” Brown said, speaking to the VMC. “So we said no problem, we’ll get back to you and do that in phase two.”
The tavern building became a hotel in the late 1800s when Elizabeth and Bill Kelley purchased the property. In 1935, Mrs. Kelley’s nephew, Richard L. Colter, who also owned the Mansion House in Vineyard Haven at the time, took possession
ership of the hotel, renaming it Great Harbor Inn. The name reverted to Kelley House in the 1970s.
The renovation project was approved by the Edgartown Wastewater Commission in February, according to the minutes. VMC documents also show that the Edgartown Historical Commission approved the project. Building department records show the project is awaiting permits for the garden house and for proposed renovations to 51 North Water Street.
“It’s the final piece of that puzzle,” Mr Brown said of building permits.
The contractor for the project is Metric, a Boston-based company that oversaw the Edgartown Yacht Club renovation project in 2018.
Metric will spend the summer gutting the interiors of buildings that will be renovated, Brown said. The pool will be moved and landscaping of the area will be done in the fall. The interior layout will be revisited again in winter. “We are thrilled to bring everything back to life, including the Newes for next summer,” Mr Brown said.