A lone bid for the Yellow House in Edgartown was submitted Monday, in the town’s second search for a bidder to renovate the property and lease it from the town.
The town, which took the property by eminent domain, failed to cement a bidder back in March after issues arose over protecting a large linden tree on the property.
Selectmen chairman Mike Donaroma opened up the sealed bid at a meeting Monday. The lone bidder was Christopher Celeste, operating as Summer & Main LLC of Edgartown. Celeste is no stranger to Edgartown — he also owns and operates Rosewater Market & Takeaway, and Dairy Queen.
Town procurement officer Juliet Mulinare reviewed the bid before sending it to the Yellow House committee. The bid was made public during the committee’s meeting Tuesday afternoon. Christopher Celeste, along with his daughter Julia Celeste Tarka, sat before the committee.
Celeste, who has been coming to the Island for several years, said that he would always pass the Yellow House and ask himself, “What if?”
In his bid, Celeste detailed his vision of the property. The plan is to create street-level retail, several year-round residential apartments on the second floor, a new plaza, a one-story addition for the retail shop, exterior landscape improvements, and improvements to the parking lot.
Celeste said the restoration “is not a profit-making exercise,” but rather the creation of an asset that has long-term value for the town and a show of what can be done. “We want to do something positive,” he said.
Conover Restorations will manage the $2.25 million project, which will be in two phases. If the project is approved, Phase 1 will begin restoration this fall on the existing structure, with a retail shop open for business next summer. Phase 2 would include completion of residential units. The entire project would be completed by the 2020 summer season.
Now that the bid has been made public, the committee and legal counsel will review. A question and answer meeting between Celeste and the committee has been scheduled for Monday, July 23, at 3 pm at town hall. Celeste will also give a full presentation of his proposed plans.
“We’re looking forward to looking at it,” committee chairman Chris Scott said.
In other business at the Monday selectmen’s meeting, the conservation commission is in talks with the Martha’s Vineyard Museum to extinguish the development rights in perpetuity on the Thomas Cooke House, a historic colonial house built in 1792.
Commission chairman Edward “Peter” Vincent told selectmen the museum would grant conservation and architectural restrictions on the property in perpetuity to the town for $250,000. The museum would continue to maintain the property, and allow public access to the property.
The town would use money from the commission’s acquisition funds, which currently total $400,000. The museum would still maintain the property, and conservation restrictions would be put on the house.
The selectmen were in agreement a meeting between Vincent, town counsel Ron Rappaport, and one of the selectmen should be set up to look into the matter.
The smart play for the town is to knock that house down to create parking/open space (for functions, protests (public facilities and ice cream close by), relaxation under the gracious branches – might be room for a small shrine at the base of the tree.
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