Tisbury Stop and Shop submits plans for a new, expanded market

— Photo by Ralph Stewart

The Stop & Shop company plans to dramatically reconstruct and expand its Water Street, Vineyard Haven market, changing the appearance and size of the nondescript building the grocery store now occupies and adding enclosed parking for 43 cars. Tisbury selectmen got their first look at the plans on Tuesday.

Tisbury building inspector Ken Barwick displayed architectural drawings of the project at the selectmen’s regular weekly meeting on February 5.

The building site includes the block of land that houses the present grocery store, the space at the rear previously leased to Midnight Farm, the adjacent former Golden Dragon Chinese restaurant, and a residential building behind the Golden Dragon building at 15 Cromwell Lane.

The proposed two-story building would include parking in a 21,000-square-foot enclosed area on the ground level and a loading area at the rear fronting on the town parking lot.

The main floor area is approximately 22,000 square feet on the second level, when viewed from the Water Street side. A mezzanine level of 5,600 square feet will be located above the Midnight Farm part of the building.

Mr. Barwick told selectmen that the proposed structure does not exceed 35 feet in height and that he had just received the drawings a few days ago. “I haven’t jumped into the plans as ambitiously as I plan to yet,” he told selectmen.

On Wednesday, Mr. Barwick forwarded the project to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission for review as a development of regional impact.

In a telephone call Wednesday afternoon, Stop & Shop spokesman Greg O’Brien said the building will be Vineyard shingle style and designed to meet the needs of Island customers. Mr. O’Brien said the square footage of the new building would not be significantly greater than the combined square footage of all the existing spaces.

He said Stop & Shop looks forward to discussing its plans with town and Island officials and residents. “Stop & Shop sees itself as a community partner on the Vineyard,” Mr. O’Brien said. “We want to produce the best store possible to meet the needs of the community.”

Sullivan O’Connor Architects of Oak Bluffs designed the building. Tisbury lawyer and former selectman Geoghan Coogan will represent the project, Mr. O’Brien said.

Stop & Shop Supermarket Company announced plans in the spring of 2011 to expand its Vineyard Haven store, which included the space leased by Midnight Farm at the back of the building.

In May 2011, Stop & Shop bought for $950,000 from IB Property Holdings LLC, a Delaware-based company, the property and building adjacent to its Vineyard Haven market where the Golden Dragon Restaurant and Vineyard Sweats was located. On February 1, Stop & Shop bought another property, next door to Midnight Farm, at 15 Cromwell Lane.

Stop & Shop’s expansion plans have met with some opposition. In May 2012, Steve Bernier, owner of Cronig’s Market, bought a crumbling house south of the former Golden Dragon restaurant for $700,000 and donated it to the Island Housing Trust.

In a telephone conversation last May, Mr. Bernier said he moved on the property “to deal with Stop & Shop.” Mr. Bernier said he had heard that Stop & Shop was interested in purchasing that whole block. “So I bought the property, which was pretty much in the middle of their plans,” he said.

Mr. Bernier said he acted after learning that Stop & Shop planned to triple the size of its Vineyard Haven store.

“There are only so many apples in a bushel basket. After what I’ve committed to at this store, that would have been detrimental to my business,” he told The Times last spring.

The Island Housing Trust announced it plans to use the property for workforce housing.