Retail and residential proposed for Yellow House

Two developers place bids to renovate house located next to Edgartown Town Hall.

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Two bids have been filed for the Yellow House, and are now under review by the Yellow House Committee. — Martha's Vineyard Times

Two developers are proposing similar projects to return the Yellow House to its historic glory on Edgartown’s Main Street.

At a meeting Tuesday, a committee formed to review the projects and make a recommendation on which one to choose opened the two bids. Both proposals include a mix of residential housing, retail shops, and a public park.

The historic house, located adjacent to town hall and taken last spring by eminent domain, is in disrepair from years of neglect. Voters approved spending $3 million to take the property from the Hall family after repeatedly giving that family chances to renovate it.

Michael Hegarty and Patrick Ahearn are teaming up on a $2 million renovation of the building that will include adding a porch to the front and a small addition to the back, according to a presentation made by Mr. Ahearn. The house will feature seven rental apartments and three retail shops, he said.

Mr. Ahearn described the existing building as “a missing tooth” on Edgartown’s Main Street.

“This is wonderful opportunity now to correct this blight that’s happened,” said Mr. Ahearn, who has worked pro bono on other plans for the house while the town was attempting to work with the Halls. “I’m very committed to the success of this project.”

Tim McHugh, who worked with Mr. Ahearn on HGTV’s “Dream Home” in Edgartown, will be the contractor. “He has a great eye and great level of detail,” Mr. Ahearn said.

The idea behind the year-round residential housing is to add places to live in the downtown area among the shops and restaurants, he said.

Mr. Ahearn told the board that financing for the project has already been secured.

The other bid teams builder Marc Nicotera with architect Dudley Cannada as Trademark Services. They’re also proposing to spend as much as $2 million, and plan an addition set aside as a “community space” — possibly a library annex on the first floor — as well as one large retail shop. On the second and third floors would be one to three residential apartments.

The retail and residential housing are needed in order to make the project finances work, Mr. Nicotera said during his presentation. Their plan calls for a big park that could be used for farmers markets, art shows, and other events, Mr. Cannada said.

Having done other projects in town, including on the library and the Memorial Wharf, Mr. Nicotera said, he and Mr. Cannada are equally committed to improving the property for the benefit of the community.

“It looks like you’re going to get a good project no matter what happens,” he said, noting that two respected architects have worked on the plans.

Both Mr. Nicotera and Mr. Cannada spoke about improving the Yellow House, not replacing it.

“We see it as a preservation project,” Mr. Cannada said.

Documents provided by Trademark show that Imprimis LLC has agreed to finance the project.

Both projects use landscaping elements, fences, and lampposts to fit in with the character of the village.

Trademark Services LLC is proposing a wrap-around addition that would feature community space in the Yellow House.
This is one of the drawings in architect Patrick Ahearn’s Yellow House proposal.

Yellow House Committee chairman Chris Scott said his board will meet with each developer individually over the next two weeks — Jan. 16 and Jan. 23 — to review the projects in detail and ask questions of the development teams. The additional meetings will give two members who couldn’t attend Tuesday’s meeting time to review the plans, as well, he said.

After a quick scan of both proposals, procurement officer Juliet Mulinare said both appeared to have provided what was requested in the bid process. “For purposes of this they are responsive,” she told the committee.